EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Whether he was trying to convince the public, or just trying to distance himself from all the unpleasant history, Brett Favre denied again and again and again that this is not a revenge showdown for the ages Monday night.
At least not from his view as a former icon of the Green Bay Packers. In two separate press conferences Thursday, one with Minnesota reporters and another in a conference call with Wisconsin media, Favre downplayed the magnitude of the upcoming Vikings-Packers' game on Monday night and his emotional investment in it, and then denied that payback was on his mind when he asked for his release from the New York Jets and signed with Green Bay's great rival, Minnesota.
"I never was motivated for that," said Favre. "I didn't say it was about revenge. . . . This game is no different than the fourth game I played in last year."
Favre's comments were significant not only because of the big game Monday night but also because they were the first he has made to the general media covering both teams involved.
Favre's demeanor, though, varied between calm and cool in Minnesota to edgy and maybe even skittish with Wisconsin.
In Winter Park, he didn't roll his eyes or mock the questioners, he didn't pound his fist on a podium or raise his voice, but while everyone assumes Favre is bitter over his departure from Green Bay, Favre acted as if it was all in his rearview mirror.
And perhaps that was strangest of all -- besides getting over the site of his red quarterback jersey and purple Vikings practice outfit. This was a Brett Favre devoid of mostly all emotion, when emotion has defined him as much as the records, the gun slinging and the starting streak.
But days before kickoff in the Metrodome, a matter-of-fact Favre insisted this was just week 4 out of 17 and not his chance to prove the Packers made a colossal blunder in ultimately moving on without him.
"Believe me I wouldn't go suffer through a whole year, in practice, in physically being hit, having to be the guy every week and the leader and go through all that stuff, just to prove, out of spite, that you can still play," said Favre.
"I mean, obviously everyone else is excited about it. Not that I'm not excited," said Favre. "But this is one game."
Just one game?
Anyone who has followed the Favre saga might find that hard to fathom. Revenge has always been a theory.
After Favre retired for a second time, in February with the Jets, he said "part of me coming back last year, I have to admit now, was sticking it to Ted," in an interview with Sports Illustrated.
Packers general manager Ted Thompson ultimately chose to move on with Aaron Rodgers over Favre in a long, often tumultuous, drawn out off-season.
Thursday, Favre indicated that his "stick it" comments were sort of distorted . . .
Then, he clarified.
"You know in that conversation, it's always part of, the story gets out and what sells and things like that," said Favre. "I never played or would play for quote-unquote revenge. It's too long of a season. It's only one, maybe two games. And in this stage of my career, it definitely not worth it to do that.
"What I said . . . it's human nature to say, 'I still can do it.' You know. 'I want to prove someone wrong.' ...And if either you're told you're not the best, or you feel like someone's going in a different direction, I think you would want to prove you could still do it."
Favre did have lighter moments in the day, as only he can, mentioning wearing pink cleats in support of breast cancer awareness for the game, but other times he suggested he'd been portrayed unfairly.
For example, he hasn't been in contact with anyone in Green Bay.
"That will probably come out that Favre doesn't communicate with anybody anymore," said Favre. "One of my closest friends and roommate for so many years, Frank Winters, would attest to this that Brett doesn't call anyone back. I'm pretty lame when it comes to communication.
"Of course I get a bad rap for that, too, but that's a different story."
Favre was criticized once in Green Bay and again by a couple of teammates in New York for not integrating himself enough with the bonding, off-the-field relationship with his Jets teammates.
The one area Favre remained sensitive was his reasoning to play for the Vikings. In the past he's mentioned that the Vikings' offense and the coaches were all a perfect fit for him.
But when asked why he was willing to have corrective surgery on his injured biceps for the Vikings when he wasn't willing to do it and remain in New York with the Jets, Favre punted.
"None of that matters now anyway," said Favre. "What matters is this game Monday night, and that's all that matters. And this team has welcomed me here. It's been a lot of fun, it's been a lot of work, but I'm having a good time. And that's all that matters. I had a great time in New York . . . I wish we'd ended up a little bit better, but that's over and done with."
On Monday, Mike McCarthy said that Favre expressed his desire to play for the Vikings as far back as August of 2008, when the two met after Family Night in an attempt to reconcile.
But reconciliation never happened and the Packers obviously didn't grant Favre's wish.
And yet a year later, he's in Minnesota anyway.
People may debate Favre's sincerity and his "just another game" comments, but it should be no surprise that he's trying to downplay the subplots behind this game.
His emotions may fuel him at other times but they could cost him dearly in his performance if he gets too emotional Monday.
"You can't treat it any differently," said Favre. "Trying to keep your emotions in check any time is part of it."
And then Favre has his teammates to think about; they've been dragged into the baggage of the divorce between Favre and the Packers when they're just trying to reach 4-0. Also, if Favre and the Vikings lose the game they are favored to win, the blame will surely land at his doorstep.
Vikings coach Brad Childress hopes that once the whistle blows Favre can truly focus on the game.
"He's an emotional guy," Childress said. "I'm sure there will be a wave of emotion before the game, and then, you know, kind of, hopefully, a cold, kind of a serial-killer mentality when the game starts."