EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Brett Favre and Mark Sanchez have never met. Their football paths, however, will be forever linked. Favre revitalized the Jets for one season — in 2008 — and made the franchise relevant again despite a collapse that ended without a playoff appearance. His decision afterward to retire — albeit briefly — allowed the team to focus on its future.
"Had I come back that year, they probably don't draft Mark," Favre said. "And it's still early, but the guy has played great. I think he's shown great leadership, has fit into not only that team but that city well."
So far, so good.
After a torn biceps derailed Favre's season in 2008 and he stepped away from the game a few months later, the Jets had to come up with another game plan.
When the draft rolled around in April 2009, the Jets were confident Sanchez was their guy. They traded up and took him with the fifth overall pick.
Meanwhile, Favre had been granted his release from the Jets then made another return, this time with the Vikings.
"I give Mike Tannenbaum a lot of credit," Favre said of the Jets' general manager. "In a lot of ways, he rolls dice; he takes chances. You never know if those decisions will pan out, but you never know if you don't try. So it's really worked out for them. I think the sky's the limit for Mark."
Jets coach Rex Ryan said he would have tried recruiting Favre to play again in New York if they had been unable to get Sanchez.
And now Favre, who turns 41 today, will get to see the man who replaced him up close Monday night, when the Vikings take on the Jets at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
What does Sanchez, 23, have to say?
"I'm excited to see Brett, but I just don't want to think about it too much," he said. "There's nothing really to get caught up in. He's a great quarterback just like (Tom) Brady, just like (Peyton) Manning. I've played against those guys before, and we're so focused on what we're doing that there won't be any awe factor."
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers needs 259 yards passing to reach 10,000. The six-year veteran has a 100-plus rating in each of his past seven starts in October.
Quotes of the day
"Wow. You never thought that would happen, but it's good to have him back in familiar colors. Every year I say, 'I've seen it all.' I've been saying it for the last 12 years here. This is it. I've seen it all now."
Jim Kleinsasser, Vikings tight end on the return of WR Randy Moss. As a 12-year veteran, Kleinsasser is the Vikings' longest-tenured player.
"It's like Christmas over and over again. I never imagined playing with (Brett) Favre and it's happened. And now Randy Moss, my favorite receiver, the best in the game. I feel like a kid in a candy store."
Adrian Peterson, Vikings running back on the chance to play with Moss
Last one standing
With the Chiefs visiting the Colts, it's barely surprising that there's an undefeated team in the matchup. But it's shocking that the Chiefs are 3-0, the league's only club without a loss. They are doing it with a strong running game led by RBs Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones and a vastly improved run defense.
Beating the Colts would stamp the Chiefs as legitimate, even if Indy is battered on both sides of the ball. But QB Peyton Manning is off to one of the best starts of his career with 11 touchdowns and one interception and leads the league in passer rating. But the Colts are 2-2 even though they have the top three receivers in the AFC.
"But we're going to need all the tips we can get to conquer this one," Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson said. "Peyton's the best quarterback in the league."
$54,896? No big deal
Dez Bryant didn't mind picking up the $54,896 dinner tab for his teammates. And he's okay with being teased about it.
Apologies from the guys who ran up the bill? Not needed, he says. Anything for camaraderie.
The rookie receiver for the Cowboys spoke last week for the first time since his rookie dinner became a national conversation, with reactions ranging from laughter to disgust.
His take? "It was all in fun."
Honor of the day
More people likely know Dick LeBeau for his work as a defensive coordinator, particularly with the Steelers. But his playing career with the Lions earned him top honors.
And today, the Lions will honor him again.
LeBeau, 73, entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August for his work as a cornerback with the Lions from 1959 to 1972. He will be presented with his Hall of Fame ring by Stephen A. Perry, president and executive director of the hall.
Pittsburgh has a bye, enabling LeBeau to attend the Lions' game against the Rams.
LeBeau is the Lions' career leader in interceptions (62) and holds the NFL record for consecutive games by a cornerback (171).