Jets set to fly with captain Brett

September 3, 2008 5:36:30 PM PDT
Brett Favre has made quite an impression on his new teammates.The ballots are in, and the veteran quarterback was voted one of the New York Jets' offensive captains despite being with the team for less than a month.

"I'm honored," Favre said Wednesday before the Jets' first practice at their new home in Florham Park. "I felt a little uncomfortable to be voted. I feel like I need to earn it."

Well, that'll start Sunday when the Jets open the regular season at Miami with Favre under center.

"I don't want it to be based on past performances or longevity, whatever," Favre said. "All those things are important, but what's important is what I do here and how I carry myself as a teammate, what type of leader I am. But you have to vote a captain, as every team does, early in the year and I'm honored to represent this team."

Favre, acquired from Green Bay on Aug. 6 after coming out of retirement, joined new left guard Alan Faneca as offensive captains. Defensive end Shaun Ellis and safety Kerry Rhodes were selected captains on defense in the vote by players Tuesday, while David Bowens and Leon Washington will represent the special teams unit.

"Obviously, he's fitting in well to be voted on by his peers to be a captain," coach Eric Mangini said of Favre. "I think the question of how he's adjusting, how he's fitting in with the guys has been clearly answered by the fact that his peer group - I don't know how peer groups work with that age differential - but the kids voted for him."

The 38-year-old, gray-stubbled quarterback has been lauded throughout his career for being one of the game's ultimate leaders.

His new teammates recognized that, and the fact he has started an NFL-record 253 consecutive games, showing a penchant for playing through pain. It also helps that he has the coach's ear.

"You want a guy who has a hand in upper management," Bowens said with a big laugh. "That was a no-brainer, I'm sure, for the offensive guys. Brett can go upstairs and talk to Eric pretty easily, but aside from all that, Brett is a good leader. He's showed toughness and played about 1,000 games in a row or something like that. Anytime you've got a guy in that situation, you definitely look up to him for leadership."

Favre will take on the Dolphins and Chad Pennington, the man he replaced, on Sunday and acknowledged he still has moments of anxiety before games, even after 17 seasons.

"If I didn't, I wouldn't be back," Favre said. "I feel like a rookie in some respects because of the circumstances. Believe me, there will be some excitement and butterflies, but I've had that each and every year. There may be a few more this time than in years past."

That's because of the massive spotlight, not to mention pressure, that has followed Favre from Green Bay to New York.

"I understand that most people think the odds are against me, and that's fine," he said. "I'm not here to be a god. I'm not here to get trashed, either. I'm here to help this team win. I still think I can offer something to the game of football, to myself. That's all I can do. I hope it works out, believe me."