Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell became the first member of Brad Childress' coaching staff to personally evaluate Brett Favre after shoulder surgery when he traveled to Hattiesburg, Miss., last week to watch the retired quarterback perform in a rigorous throwing session that included an estimated 100 passes, sources said.
According to those same sources, at least one of whom has communicated directly with the quarterback, Favre thought his performance that day with the Oak Grove High School team was encouraging. But Favre also warned the Vikings representatives that he might be forced to delay a decision on whether to play until just before the team opens training camp on July 29 in Mankato, Minn.
During their visit to his home last Wednesday, Favre informed Bevell and Vikings head trainer Eric Sugarman that he wants to play in Minnesota during the upcoming season but remains unable to commit because he wants to be totally confident that he can provide the team with 16-plus healthy starts before doing so. Sugarman was making his second visit to Favre's Mississippi home, the first occurring a few weeks before in which the trainer demonstrated some shoulder exercises the quarterback could use to accelerate his recovery.
Favre, 39, is approximately six weeks removed from the arthroscopic surgery Dr. James Andrews performed to release the partially torn biceps tendon in the quarterback's right shoulder. Favre is proceeding cautiously because he remains somewhat concerned about the inconsistency of some throws and worries that he continues to have slight pain, according to sources. While Favre's recovery seems to be following the six- to eight-week rehab timetable that Andrews described, sources say that Favre had hoped the improvement would come sooner and that he had initially planned to make a decision about returning to the NFL before the end of June.
According to those close to him, Favre is conflicted between his strong desire to play for the Vikings and lingering concern about the potential that, even though he's had surgery, he still is not pain-free. Favre apparently would rather not play at all than return to the NFL and suffer the kind of pain and inconsistency that plagued him in the final month of last season with the New York Jets. That is the reason Favre has carefully followed his own timetable, even opting not to make an appearance at the team's final OTA session before training camp last month as Childress had pressured him to do.
Although they have not been together since 2006, Favre has maintained a close personal relationship with Bevell, who was a Green Bay Packers offensive assistant for six seasons. He was Favre's quarterbacks coach for three seasons before Childress hired him to join the Packers' archrivals in the NFC North.
Ed Werder covers the NFL for ESPN.