Favre Excels Through Adversity

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The legend of Packers quarterback Brett Favre has been well documented over his 14-year NFL career, 13 of those years spent at the helm of the Green Bay offense.

There are very few active players who were even in the league in 1992, let alone any who have been in the starting lineup for every game since Favre began his ironman run under center for the Packers 196 regular season games ago.

Favre has long since set the record for consecutive starts by a quarterback, establishing himself as one of the most constant presences in all of football by playing through a plethora of injuries along the way.

Not only has he been able to put up Hall of Fame-caliber statistics and lead his team to two Super Bowls and five division titles while often playing through physical pain that would have left many other players on the sidelines, Favre has also famously weathered personal tragedy and excelled on the football field.

Last year, Favre suffered the sudden loss of his father, Irvin, to a heart attack, and earlier this month, his family was again faced with tragedy as Casey Tynes, the younger brother of his wife, Deanna, was killed in an all-terrain vehicle crash.

Earlier this week, it was made public that Deanna had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and had recently undergone surgery to remove a cancerous lump.

Brett Favre spoke Wednesday in his weekly meeting with the local Wisconsin media for the first time since the news was broken, just shy of two weeks after learning the news of his wife's condition.

He explained that strangely enough, the stress-filled role of playing quarterback in the NFL provides him with a sense of calm and a way to handle issues that arise off the field.

"I enjoy playing the game," he said. "It's a way to take my mind off of - at least for a brief moment - some of the things in my personal life that I have to deal with. I feel that other members of my family don't have that out. It's a difficult job regardless, and it makes it a little bit tougher at times, but I find it a little bit easier to cope with some of the other things because of football."

Earlier in the day, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman spoke about his quarterback's toughness. But when asked about how Favre handles adversity, Sherman said he's not sure that the man who wears #4 for the Green and Gold is the toughest person in his own home.

"He is a very resilient person," said Sherman, "But I've got to be honest with you, everything he's gone through, his wife's gone through. I'm not so sure who's the toughest one in that family. She's equally as tough because she's been there and she's been in support of him in every situation that he's been involved in and she's been a part of that. She's the unsung hero in that relationship, but she's every bit as much a hero as he is in that family."

Backup quarterback Doug Pederson, Favre's best friend on the Packers' roster, spoke of Favre's mental toughness, as well as the physical toughness he's displayed.

"Obviously, the last couple of weeks he's played extremely well and he's fought through it and done a great job with that," said Pederson. "To do what he's done the last month, it's definitely a compliment to his mental toughness and the physical is part of that too."

Favre has put up impressive numbers in leading the Packers to back-to-back 38-10 and 41-20 wins in the two games since learning of his wife's condition. That only continues to highlight the quarterback's ability to handle any situation.

He said he plans to do everything he can to help both his family and his team in this difficult time, saying that he thinks football will help them through it.

"I like doing what I do and having to deal with these personal issues makes it more difficult, but I still love doing what I do," Favre said. "As long as I'm playing, I would think that I'll continue to play at a high level.

"Whatever I have to do to support her and the kids, I'll do. Football is very important, but it's not the most important thing. The last two weeks, she's said, 'Go out and play and do whatever - do your deal.' But I would expect her to say that. I would say the same thing, but I also want to be there for her."

There have been some that have speculated that mounting physical struggles (Favre is listed on the Packers' injury report for the third different injury this season with a sprained throwing hand heading into Sunday's game at Washington) on top of the off-field difficulties could lead to the quarterback deciding to retire from the game. Favre couldn't disagree more.

"It really doesn't," Favre said Wednesday. "Do I think about it? Sure. Especially during times like this, I think about it. But is seems like every time something happens, people want to jump on the retirement bandwagon. And the more people ask me, the more I want to stick around just to stick it to 'em."

Skeptics from the press are not the only ones Favre has been sticking it to lately, as opposing defenses have found out.

It appears that the more adversity he's faced with, the more successful Brett Favre proves he can be.

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