MINNEAPOLIS — And on the 87th day he was anguished.

Two-plus months after the Brett Favre-to-the-Vikings soap opera began, and days before a decision was expected to be announced, ESPN reported Thursday that the 39-year-old quarterback “remains anguished about whether he should come out of retirement and join the team.”

Did anyone really think the saga would end Friday?

ESPN’s latest report suggests that any decision by Favre probably won’t come until next week and it even raises doubt about whether he will meet his self-imposed deadline of July 30. That is the drop-dead day for Vikings players to report to training camp in Mankato, with the first practice scheduled for the following day.

Citing a source, ESPN’s Ed Werder reported that Favre is conflicted about returning for his 19th season in large part because of phone calls and text messages he has received from Vikings players urging him to be their QB. The report mentioned Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen and Steve Hutchinson.

Several Vikings have been in some form of contact with Favre in recent months, and ESPN reported Favre is beginning to feel a sense of obligation to Vikings players and the coaching staff because of their involvement in trying to get him to play.

“If it weren’t for the involvement of the Vikings players directly telling Brett they want him on their team, I think he might have already decided against playing again,” the source told Werder.

The fact that Vikings coaches and players are helping recruit Favre might require some damage control inside the locker room with current quarterbacks Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels if Favre ultimately decides not to play.

In an interview this week, Vikings coach Brad Childress seemed to refute the perception that he is actively recruiting Favre.

“I don’t want to get into a position where I’m recruiting him,” Childress said. “He knows the merits of what’s going on here in Minnesota. … He sees that he’d have a chance to be part of a good football team.”

Favre’s indecision at this point apparently has nothing to do with money or his surgically repaired right arm. ESPN reported the two sides already have agreed upon a one-year contract worth approximately $10 million.

Favre, who turns 40 on Oct. 10, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his throwing arm in late May to release a partially torn biceps tendon. The arm initially was his main concern, but he has been throwing on a regular basis to receivers at a high school in Hattiesburg, Miss.

Childress had not talked to Favre in a couple of weeks but did see television footage of Favre throwing and said he thought Favre looked good.

ESPN reported that Favre seldom experiences pain in his throwing shoulder and that his arm feels better than it did last season when he played for the Jets. Favre retired last February primarily because of the issues with his arm.

However, Favre reportedly is concerned about whether he can hold up physically for an entire 16-game season as well as the possible public backlash he would receive if his body breaks down.

Favre initially said he would decide about playing by next Thursday. NFL.com, however, reported this week that people close to Favre expected his decision by Friday and that they expected him to return.


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