Favre calls injured Romo, offers encouragement and advice

New York Jets quarterback Brett Favre, who has started an NFL-record 258 consecutive regular-season games, told ESPN he called Tony Romo to offer encouragement as the young quarterback copes with a fractured finger on his passing hand that apparently will end his streak of consecutive starts after 30 often spectacular performances.

Favre called Romo as the Dallas Cowboys quarterback was heading to an appointment with doctors.

Romo could not be reached by ESPN for comment.

Favre said he respects Romo's toughness and regards him as one of the top five players in the entire NFL, regardless of position.

Predictably, Favre advised Romo to do everything possible to avoid the sideline, explaining how he played though the agonizing pain of a fractured thumb to maintain his streak with the Green Bay Packers.

"The only thing I said was, it's worth trying [to play] if you can deal with the pain and can function good enough with a splint,'' Favre said. "If not, don't try.''

Romo will not require surgery but is expected to miss four weeks with his injury. While quarterbacks such as Favre and Drew Bledsoe -- the quarterback Romo replaced in Dallas -- have played with broken fingers, the Cowboys explain that the pinkie is essential in gripping the ball whereas other fingers are more involved in delivering accurate passes and taking direct snaps from under center.

Favre told Romo that his thumb injury "hurt like hell, but that doesn't mean a pinkie would be any easier.''

Although there seems to be some unjustified question about Romo's toughness, Favre has no such doubts, lavishing praise on a player whose reckless style and fun-loving nature on the field have been compared to the future Hall of Famer who holds virtually every significant NFL record for quarterbacks.

"I talked to Tony about what I did to play with the thumb,'' Favre said. "Everyone is different and the two injuries are different, so only Tony knows. I will say this: Not only do I think he's tough, but I think he's also one of the top five players in the entire league.''

Ed Werder covers the NFL for ESPN.com.