Just when Brett Favre looked to finally be out, the Minnesota Vikings could be pulling him back in. Citing an anonymous source "with direct knowledge of the discussions between the two parties," ESPN reported Tuesday that Favre is scheduled to meet with Vikings coach Brad Childress later this week about a possible comeback with Minnesota.
Favre's agent, Bus Cook, did not immediately return a phone call to his Mississippi office left by The Associated Press.
Childress did not immediately return a message. A Vikings spokesman declined to comment on the report.
Both Favre and Cook have said this spring that Favre intends to stay retired. But Favre's statement after he was released by the New York Jets last week left the door open.
"At this time, I am retired and have no intention of returning to football," he said.
Those three little words _ "At this time" _ set off rampant speculation that he was indeed considering a second return to action.
Childress said Friday he had been too busy to concentrate on Favre, but did acknowledge the subject would soon be broached.
"We talk about everything," Childress said then, "from what's going on in the United States on the front page today. ... We talk about everything, so yeah, I'm sure we'll talk about that."
It wouldn't be the first time.
Favre spent 16 seasons in Green Bay, retiring in 2008 after leading the Packers to the NFC title game. He changed his mind a few months later, which set up a long and messy soap opera that ultimately led to his trade to the Jets.
It was believed all along that Favre, after hearing Green Bay's plans to go with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, wanted to come to NFC North rival Minnesota so he could exact some revenge on the Packers.
But the Packers would have none of it. The team filed tampering charges against the Vikings, alleging improper contact between Favre and Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, a friend of Favre's from his days as Green Bay's quarterbacks coach.
The league cleared the Vikings of all charges. Green Bay included in the trade to New York a clause that made it all but impossible for the Jets to turn around and ship Favre to the Vikings.
But when the Jets granted the 39-year-old Favre his release last week, it made him a free agent who is eligible to sign with any team he chooses. And many experts say the Vikings are a quarterback away from being a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
With unproven veterans Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson slated to duke it out in training camp for the starting job, it would come as no surprise that the Vikings would at least consider adding a three-time MVP who holds the career records in every major statistical passing category, including interceptions.
But the move would not come without questions.
After an impressive start to his first and only season in New York _ he threw a career-high six touchdown passes in a win over Arizona in Week 4 _ Favre's production dipped considerably over the final five games while he dealt with shoulder and biceps injuries. He threw nine interceptions in that span and the Jets stumbled to a 1-4 finish.