Favre brings the drama to Bears

Matt Trowbridge

Brett Favre brings NFL records for passing yards, touchdowns and interceptions wherever he goes.

He also brings more drama off the field, as the Minnesota Vikings finally learned this week.

Favre’s unexpected career year at age 40 his a speed bump Sunday when coach Brad Childress tried to pull him from a 26-7 loss to Carolina when the Vikings led 7-6 at the time. Favre termed it “a heated discussion” after the game, but Childress said the fascination over their sideline discussion is merely part of the overblown annual drama surrounding Favre.

“There are a lot of conversations that go on from a lot of different positions with head coaches and position coaches,” Childress said on a teleconference Wednesday in preparation for playing the Chicago Bears (5-9) on Monday night. “Maybe if it wasn’t on national TV or we were playing somebody in a smaller market, it would just be two guys standing there talking to each other.

“I’m always animated when I speak. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve got Italian blood or what. I speak with my hands.”

And it’s in Favre’s blood to argue his way back onto the field, no matter how fierce a pass rush he is facing.

“He’s an emotional football player,” Childress said. “It’s part of his makeup. It makes him good. I understand that he’s Brett Favre and somewhat bigger than life in terms of what gets said and what gets talked about, but he’s a good team player and he’s been the whole time he’s been here.”

Childress insisted “we’re both on the same page” and that Favre “hasn’t been divisive.” He said he wanted to pull Favre to keep him away from Julius Peppers and Carolina’s pass rush. An ESPN.com report Wednesday said the attempted move had more to do with Favre’s attempts to audible out of a run play to a pass play more than Childress likes.

All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen said the only thing bothering the Vikings (11-3) is their two losses in the last three games.

“We have a great locker room here,” Allen said. “People don’t understand; a team is like a big family. You are going to have times when people butt heads and don’t agree with each other, but that’s all it is. We don’t hold grudges. It’s not a big sewing circle over here where three weeks down the road we’re mad at somebody because you looked at me wrong.

“The biggest frustration factor around here is we lost that game. That’s what we’re upset about. All the other stuff, it’s not even on our mind.”

A bigger issue might be Favre’s December fades. While he still has a career-high 104.1 passer rating, second in the NFL, it’s been below 80 in all three games. He’s now been below 80 for seven December games in a row, continuing a trend he’s had four of the last five seasons.

Childress also dismissed those concerns, saying the entire team has played below par this month and pointing out Favre was injured last December with the Jets. He’s not injured now.

“He’s still got a buggy whip for an arm,” Childress said. “He can still make all the throws that he needs to make.”

Matt Trowbridge can be reached at 815-987-1383 or mtrowbridge@rrstar.com.