Bird Whisperer Makes Some Noise
I swear, if Charlie Freaking Walters ultimately gets credit for breaking the Favre comeback story, John Clayton, Peter King, Chris Mortensen, Adam Schefter, etc. should all retire. When Shooter beats you to the punch on a development in the NFL's biggest offseason storyline, you might as well pack up your keyboard and ride off into the sunset.
After Shooter's report on Monday afternoon that Favre will meet today with Dr. James Andrews to discuss surgery for the quarterback's partially torn biceps -- with the surgery reportedly occuring shortly thereafter -- Walters soon entered the national scene as national media outlets scrambled to verify the story. Unusual territory for someone routinely mocked in the Twin Cities for his sketchy (to say the least) "reporting" of "rumors."
Late Monday evening, though, Ed Werder of ESPN came out with a report that directly contradicted Shooter -- according to Werder, surgery is not imminent for Favre, nor is the quarterback planning to meet with Andrews today. ESPN has obviously been wrong before, but until we know more about this latest dustup in the Favre saga, you've gotta take their word over that of Walters (obviously). Here's the report:
Contrary to reports, Brett Favre does not have an appointment with Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday and doesn't consider surgery on his partially torn biceps tendon to be imminent, according to a source.
Favre, however, remains focused on non-surgical options, including cortisone injections and natural movements like light throwing and bicep curls that might cause the tendon to release naturally, the source told ESPN. If the tendon releases and the pain subsides, Favre is virtually certain to play again. If he has surgery and his arm strength diminishes or the pain remains, he will remain retired, the source said.
As people who know all about Walters' track record when it comes to his "Don't Print That" tidbits and the whispers he hears on a semi-regular basis from birds that happen to be very poor sources, it's tough to know what to make of his report. I wanted to believe it because we're all desperate for some progress to be made in the Favre circus, but c'mon...this is Charlie Walters we're talking about. He's a person infamous for being -- well, wrong all the time.
Again, I would love nothing more than for Shooter to be accurate on this because I don't like the state of limbo this team's been in ever since the Favre circus came to town, and -- like most of you -- I'm frustrated by the lack of solid information we have. I just want the damn thing to be over. But when ESPN is directly contradicting the report of an extremely unreliable reporter, that's pretty much the end of the story.
And that's a shame -- Shooter's report was the first indication that the end might finally be near for the Brett Favre soap opera. Regardless of whether or not you want Favre in purple, the possibility that there could be an end in sight for the team's current uncertain state should have been at least somewhat comforting.
Kornheiser Wishes "Happy Trails" to Himself
Aside from the Chronicles of Favre, the big NFL news of the week is Tony Kornheiser bidding farewell to ESPN's Monday Night Football -- with Jon Gruden stepping in as his replacement. I know there usually isn't much room in the middle when it comes to opinions of Kornheiser, but I genuinely like the guy. Kornheiser certainly injected some much-needed life into the ESPN lineup when he signed on with Wilbon to host Pardon the Interruption, but there's little question that his role as commentator on Monday Night Football was quite a bit less ideal than his day job.
Gruden's definitely the right kind of personality for the broadcasting booth, so I look forward to seeing what he brings to the table alongside Jaws. Not a bad way to spend your time until jumping back into coaching.
Throughout his career, Kornheiser has been a radio host, a newspaper columnist, and the co-host of PTI -- all three of which were better fits for him than Monday Night Football. I thought things would improve when The Worldwide Leader got rid of Joe Theismann, who would disagree with TK just for the sake of disagreeing, but both Kornheiser and ESPN made the right call in simply moving along after a failed experiment.
Udeze Heads Back to the Field
Outstanding piece of news from Grandpa Sports, who caught up with Kenechi Udeze as the 2004 first-round pick heads back to the football field today for minicamp. Here's what Kenechi told Sid:
"I feel really good," Udeze said. "I just recently had a physical with our team doctor. [Dr. Sheldon] Burns had me go through a stress test and everything was good, so I'm looking forward to joining the team as we get together here soon.
"That's the plan. I don't know exactly what they're going to have me doing, because they kind of want to ease me into this offseason minicamp schedule. Whatever they throw me into, I think I'll be capable of doing."
You really can't say enough about what a fighter this guy is, what an inspiration he is to his teammates and all of us, and what a great story it is that he's returning to the football field this week. With all the Favre drama that is unfolding as the Vikings get back to work, it's good to see that Kenechi's triumphant return is getting the attention it deserves.
Vikings Ink Nehemiah Broughton
Yesterday, the Vikings inked a fullback named Nehemiah Broughton -- and unless you're a diehard fan of Citadel football, the team Broughton suited up for in his college days, you're probably asking, "who?" Whelp, here's a little about Broughton from the AP report of the acquisition:
Broughton was a seventh-round draft pick of the Washington Redskins in 2005. He played in six games with the Redskins over the next two seasons but missed all of 2007 with an injury and spent last season on the practice squad.
Now that's what I call an impact player -- an impact player on the practice squad, that is. It's a solid move to give Tahi a dose of training camp competition, but as someone who only touched the ball five times in the preseason last year, you have to wonder if Broughton can seriously contend for a roster spot. From the few paragraphs I've ready about him, my initial verdict is "no," but I know absolutely nothing about the guy.
Percy Harvin Makes Bold Move to Silence Critics
OK...maybe not. But for everyone who raised their eyebrows when he missed the team's rookie camp in April, it should probably be mentioned that Harvin will be present today for minicamp:
"He's looking forward to it," agent Joel Segal said. "He's feeling great, and he's excited to start working."