INDIANAPOLIS -- Minnesota coach Brad Childress knows one way to get a definitive answer from Brett Favre.
"I'm not going to put him in any box," Childress said Friday at the NFL's annual scouting combine. "Four weeks and change, he's still healing up from that game [the NFC championship]. He's kind of earned that latitude."
Whether the three-time MVP needs a month or an entire offseason to determine whether to return for a 20th NFL season, Childress isn't pressing the issue. He spoke with Favre twice this week, but football was not the primary topic.
Instead, the three-time league MVP was busy putting down fresh limestone on a road that leads to his mother-in-law's house, which is on Favre's property in Mississippi.
"I couldn't give him any landscape-architecture ideas or anything of that nature," the soft-spoken Childress said, drawing laughter. "So the conversation didn't last very long."
The next move is Favre's -- again.
Two years ago in March, Favre made a tearful retirement announcement in Green Bay. That summer, before even missing a training camp, Favre returned to the NFL as a New York Jet. The reason: He said he felt pressured into making a quick decision in Green Bay.
Last year, the waiting game started all over. Favre retired with a torn biceps in his throwing shoulder in February. By the summer, rumors were swirling that he was about to make another comeback, this time with Green Bay's bitter rival Minnesota.
At first, Favre said no. In August, Favre changed his mind again and signed with the Vikings.
The indecision didn't cost Favre anything.
After missing all of Minnesota's offseason workouts and all of training camp, Favre, who turned 40 in October, still had one of the best seasons of his career. He led Minnesota to a second straight NFC North title and had the Vikings in position to reach the Super Bowl until a late interception at New Orleans forced overtime and sealed the Vikings' fate.
But the gritty quarterback, who hasn't missed a start since 1993, has never done things by the book. Childress doesn't expect that to change now.
"I just think it's important to manage a guy's resources, particularly a 41-year-old," Childress said. "There's really not a manual on that, just like there's not a manual for raising kids, there's really not a manual for 40, 41."
While most teams are making plans for free agency and the draft, trying to solidify rosters for next season, Childress is content letting the quarterback situation play itself out.
Clearly, he'd like to Favre, the NFL's career leader in touchdown passes and interceptions, running the offense in Minnesota.
The coach who got into a sideline squabble with his starting quarterback last fall is now in the position of being Favre's full-fledged supporter -- whenever Favre makes his decision.
"I hope he doesn't jackhammer his foot or something while he's out there pouring limestone," Childress said. "Would it be nice to know sooner rather than later? Yeah, but you have to be able to deal with ambiguity in this business whether you're a coach or a player."