Football Provides Necessary Release For Favre

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A reporter asked Brett Favre how his ankle felt.

"It's the least of mine and this team's worries," he said.

Indeed Favre has other concerns.

He is still trying to cope with Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed his hometown of Kiln, Miss. and displaced his entire family, but he has started using football as a helpful distraction.

Favre even said he had his best practice of the year on Wednesday.

"My focus and intensity was there," he said. "My decision making was good."

That performance contrasts to last week when he had difficulty concentrating on football. His mind was elsewhere, and his eyes carried a reddish tint after several days with little or no sleep.

"Last week there were days that I was there," Favre said. "But I wasn't there."

Now football has provided a necessary diversion.

"It makes me focus even harder because it gives me a release," he said.

Favre has learned how to play effectively while undergoing tragedy in his personal life. In the last year-and-a-half, his father and brother-in-law died. And his wife, Deanna, developed breast cancer. He has almost become accustomed to playing with a heavy heart.

"If everything was going fine in my life," he said. "That would be hard to handle."

Deanna's cancer gave him some perspective on how to handle the recent setback. It will take years to rebuild the Gulf Coast. Favre could not view his wife's progress day by day either but as a long-term healing process.

"Deanna' cancer treatment was ongoing," he said. "It's not a quick fix."

The current tragedy has left most of his family homeless. His mother and nephew are living with him in Green Bay, Wis. His grandma is living in Natchez, Miss. with a friend. His younger brother and two of his sons have moved to Missouri while his younger brother is residing in Virginia. And several of his friends likely have perished.

"It's bad. It really is," Favre said. "My mom -- I don't think she'll ever recover from it."

With so much on his plate, the status of the ankle he sprained against the Tennessee Titans is of little concern.

Of course, the legendary ironman, who has made 205 consecutive starts, usually shrugs off such injuries anyway.

"He's played through injuries before, and this is no different. He's gonna play," said Detroit Lions coach Steve Mariucci, Favre's quarterback coach from 1992 to 1995. "And I don't think his ankle is going to be a factor at all."

True to form, the old warrior still found fault in the practice he deemed his best of the year. He said he can improve his accuracy.

"I know I can be better," he said.

But few are better at playing through adversity.

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