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Matchup Of 'Ageless Wonders' Would Make History

If Vinny Testaverde starts for Carolina on Sunday, he and Brett Favre would form the oldest starting quarterback duo in NFL history at a combined 82 years, 44 days old. - More Audio | Video | Packers-Panthers Game Center Notebook: Jenkins Brothers To Meet Again


QBs Brett Favre and Vinny Testaverde shake hands at a 1996 preseason contest between the Packers and Baltimore Ravens.

For all the talk about his age, it's possible Brett Favre may be the young pup at the quarterback position on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

The Carolina Panthers haven't made a final decision, but 44-year-old Vinny Testaverde could get the nod at quarterback on Sunday. David Carr, who has been recovering from a concussion, is not on Carolina's injury report this week and is practicing, but Carolina coach John Fox is calling the quarterback situation "day-to-day."

If it is Testaverde, who has started three games this season, he and Favre would combine to form the oldest starting quarterback duo in NFL history. Testaverde just turned 44 on Tuesday and will be 44 years, 5 days old on Sunday. Favre will be 38 years, 39 days old, making the two a combined 82 years, 44 days old at kickoff.

"Whatever the jokes are, they're good," Favre said. "Because we're still playing and that says a lot.

"I remember when I was going up against all the older guys. It makes you appreciate this game. I think what Vinny is doing is amazing."

Indeed it is.

Testaverde, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 1987 by Tampa Bay, is in his 21st year in the NFL with his seventh different team (Cleveland, Baltimore, N.Y. Jets, Dallas and New England were the five in between the Buccaneers and Panthers). He was not on a team in the early weeks of the season until Carolina, beset by injuries to starter Jake Delhomme (elbow) and Carr (back), signed him on Oct. 10, four days before a road game at Arizona.

"The guy stepped off the bus on a Wednesday, he's getting taped during 9-on-7 (drills), and he came out and just absolutely lit it up," said Panthers guard Mike Wahle, a former Packer. "He stepped out on the field and just started throwing darts. The guy is a real talent."

Testaverde won the game that Sunday against the Cardinals, and though the Panthers (4-5) have lost in his two other starts -- one cut short by an Achilles injury -- he has completed a respectable 56 percent of his passes (45-of-81) for 441 yards with one touchdown and just one interception.

Favre's first head-to-head meeting with Testaverde came in Tampa back in Week 2 of the 1992 season, Favre's first year in Green Bay. Testaverde was a near-perfect 22-of-25 for 363 yards with two touchdown passes and another touchdown rushing in a 31-3 Buccaneers rout.

Playing in relief of Don Majkowski in the blowout, Favre completed a modest 8-of-14 throws for 73 yards with an interception.

"How far we've come since then," Favre said, marveling at the impressive length of Testaverde's career in a season Favre is playing at an MVP level himself. "I never thought I'd make 17 years. I figured that my body would give out or I just would not play at a high level that long. You never know and all of a sudden 17 years is here and you can still do it."

{sportsad300}So can Testaverde, according to the Packers defensive players who have studied him on film this week.

"You watch him on tape and you forget he's old, seriously," defensive tackle Ryan Pickett said. "He's tough to get to. He's not the fastest guy, but he'll lose a lot of sacks. He'll move and step. He's very crafty back there in the pocket. We were just watching the tape, and we were amazed how many people had him sacked and he got away."

That's probably been one of the keys to his longevity, along with still being a reliable decision-maker and possessing an arm strong enough to make all the throws.

"You don't stay in the league this long without the ability to avoid the big hits," defensive end Aaron Kampman said. "He slips to the side real quick, he's real wily. He's got the ability to be somewhat elusive."

The Panthers may behave that way the rest of the week as far as declaring whether Testaverde or Carr will start, but the uncertainty doesn't bother the Packers.

Back in Week 2, the defense didn't know whether the New York Giants were going to start Eli Manning or backup Jared Lorenzen until gameday, but preparing for a team's offensive scheme is more important than preparing for a specific quarterback.

"They have certain concepts and certain objectives they want to accomplish regardless who's at the helm," linebacker Brady Poppinga said. "It doesn't change our preparation and it doesn't change what they're trying to do as an offense."

Or what the Packers will try to do as a defense, coming off their first shutout in five seasons.

"We'll prepare for both, and whoever goes in there we'll go after him," Kampman said.

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