No matter what Chicago Bears defensive lineman Corey Wootton(notes) does in his NFL career, he may finish it as a very interesting trivia answer -- the guy who took Brett Favre(notes) out of the game for the last time. It was Wootton's hit on Favre in a Week 15 Bears win that sent the veteran to the sideline with a concussion to go with the shoulder injury he already had. Wootton took Favre down in the second quarter, Favre hasn't played since, and he's been listed as inactive for the Minnesota Vikings' game against the Detroit Lions because he couldn't pass the concussion test administered by his team in time to get any practice reps.
It's just as well for Favre's general well-being that he's sitting this one out; one can only imagine what Lions super-tackle Ndamukong Suh(notes) would do to him at Ford Field. As we have seen, Suh has an interesting habit of treating quarterbacks as if they were bottles that needed opening.
If this is indeed Favre's last go on an active roster (and yes, we always have to wonder if we won't be tortured with another offseason of "will-he/won't-he" shtick from Ol' Number 4), it's most certainly not the way he wanted to go out. After a 2009 that was probably his greatest single season (and more certainly the best season for any quarterback over 35), Favre was beset with his own injuries, as well as injuries to key members of his offense. (We won't even get into the whole Jenn Sterger thing) At the same time, the defense that helped the Vikings get so very close to the Super Bowl last year regressed, and Favre's latest comeback was doomed to a playoff shutout a while back.
It was jarring to see Favre in street clothes at the opening coin toss in this game, and we can only hope that this time, Favre is smart enough to walk away for good and leave his legacy in the kind of shape where it can be repaired over the next couple of seasons. Most everyone is sick to death of Favre's constant gameplaying and ceaseless need for drama; the montages we saw today on various pregame shows left us numb because we know we'll see those same montages tonight, and tomorrow, and through the rest of the week, and into the offseason.
We're a funny bunch in America - we tend not to want to be told over and over who our heroes should be. Favre was far more of a hero before the last two seasons turned him into a caricature; we can only hope that Favre willl know how important it is for us to get a break from him before we can really dissect how great he's been, and how important he's been to the game.