I really like the comments Ray Edwards made Thursday morning on ESPN's First Take. I've brought it up many times that Favre was viewed as a distant locker room presence in New York last season, since he didn't use the same locker room as the rest of the team. It's little surprise, then, that he was criticized anonymously by some members of the Jets for separating himself from everyone else. I'm counting on guys like Edwards to remind Favre of his locker room responsibility and make sure this team avoids a repeat of last season's Jets if/when the vet quarterback signs:
"You've got to go to war with these guys," Edwards said. "If you don't want to share a locker room with them, that's kind of b.s."
Favre had a locker assigned in the Jets' primary locker room but he actually used a nearby office.
"I wouldn't like it that much," Edwards said. "Everybody else has got to share a locker room. What makes you so different?"
Hey, someone needed to say it.
It would be the ultimate example of hypocrisy if Favre followed up the HBO interview, in which he referred to himself and the team as "we," with a number of requests that other members of the team wouldn't be granted -- such as using a locker that's separate from the locker room everyone else uses. Here's more of Ray's comments:
Edwards made clear he would welcome Favre to Minnesota, saying: "We think it's definitely going to be a great addition to the team if he does come." But when host Dana Jacobson asked if he wished Favre had already signed and at least attended some offseason workouts, Edwards said: "It would have been [nice], just to see his personality, how he interacts with guys. But you know, he's a Hall of Fame quarterback, and you know most of them are pretty much prima donnas."
Honestly, I was caught off guard by the bluntness of these comments -- they sound like something Jared Allen, Pat Williams, or another more established veteran leader would say. But it's difficult to disagree with anything Edwards is saying, and I imagine he wasn't the only player rubbed the wrong way by the news of Favre declining Chilly's request to attend the OTAs. A couple months down the road, we probably won't even remember that Favre decided not to attend OTAs, but it certainly would have set the right tone had he been present.
So anyway, kudos to Ray for confronting the so-called "elephant in the room" as it applies to the Vikings' locker room this season -- a locker room with healthy team chemistry, an excellent core of veteran leaders, but with the one big variable of Favre. This variable becomes a positive if Brett accepts that, unlike last season, he does indeed have a responsibility to do his part in the locker room and interact with the rest of the guys. He's won a Super Bowl, he said on HBO that he can teach this offense, he's been around forever -- why wouldn't you want to have him in this locker room? Then again, though, if we get another season of a "distant" Brett, there could be trouble.
I'm hopeful everyone's learned their lesson from last season -- that, when one player is seperate from the rest and given obvious special treatment by the coaching staff, things simply cannot work out. Based on what happened with Favre in New York, the locker room issue needs to be on the radar of Vikings fans, players and coaches.