FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Even though he’s wearing a different uniform and playing halfway across the country, Brett Favre continues to cast his larger-than-life shadow over the Jets.
Favre said Wednesday that he learned he had a torn biceps muscle with about four or five games left last season. He said he was receptive to sitting out because he thought he was harming the Jets with his errant throws.
However, the Jets never considered sitting Favre down — which would have ended his record streak of starts that has reached 269 — and it apparently wasn’t much of an option. After a discussion with then-coach Eric Mangini, then-quarterbacks coach Brian Daboll, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and general manager Mike Tannenbaum, all came to the conclusion to play Favre for one reason.
“We felt like he gave us the best chance to win,” Tannenbaum said, “and that was based on how he was playing and how the team was doing. Again, he was part of that decision, but collectively we felt that was in the best interest of the team.”
Favre never showed up on the injury report, meaning the Jets violated a league rule. Tannenbaum admitted he made a mistake by not including Favre and said it was all on him. The Jets could be fined $10,000 to $15,000.
“I’ll take responsibility for that as the GM of this team,” said Tannenbaum, who phoned Ray Anderson, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, yesterday morning to discuss the situation.
“I should have handled that differently and listed him on the report. We didn’t, just because he wasn’t getting treatment every day and we knew he was going to play. But looking back now, I should have listed him as probable and we didn’t.”
Mangini said he thought the team had followed proper procedure when listing injuries. He told reporters at the Browns’ practice facility that he wasn’t trying to hide anything.
“I can tell you that we always fill out the injury report by the guidelines set through the NFL,” Mangini said. “That was true there. It’s true here ... ’’
As the season wore on, Favre’s repetitions in practice were scaled down, and inaccurate throws became more common. He threw nine interceptions in the Jets’ final five games, when they went 1-4.
Scottenheimer last spoke with Favre Sunday and considers him a close friend. He said there were never thoughts of benching him in favor of Kellen Clemens.
“You are talking about one of the toughest competitors you’ll ever see,” Schottenheimer said. “I know there were some days where he felt worse than others or some days where after a game, early in a week, he would be more sore than normal ... He is a guy who loves to play. It’s hard to keep him off the field.”
Clemens was aware of Favre’s pain, but it never reached the stage where he expected to replace him. He did notice Favre was a little more limited in practice (another reason he should’ve been on the injury report) but said it was partially because Favre was approaching 40.