Down to the last few days of the season and maybe Brett Favre's career, the NFL ended a slow-paced investigation of tawdry allegations against the quarterback with a $50,000 fine and a rebuke for not being candid.
The league punished one of its marquee players for failing to cooperate with investigators who were trying to determine if the 41-year-old quarterback sent inappropriate messages and below-the-belt photos to Jenn Sterger in 2008, when both worked for the New York Jets.
The ruling came days before what could be the final game for the three-time MVP. He’ll start for Minnesota at Detroit on Sunday if he’s recovered from a concussion sustained Dec. 20 against Chicago, and has said this will be his final season – although he has unretired in the past. He made the declaration even before his NFL record for consecutive starts was snapped at 297 in mid-December.
In a statement, commissioner Roger Goodell said he “could not conclude” that Favre violated the league’s personal conduct policy based on the evidence currently available – forensic analysis failed to establish that Favre sent the objectionable photographs to Sterger.
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Favre’s punishment stems from Goodell’s determination that Favre was “not candid in several respects during the investigation.”
The unfamiliar sight of the NFL’s first Tuesday game since 1946 still drew plenty of television viewers.
The Minnesota Vikings’ 24-14 upset of the Philadelphia Eagles, postponed from Sunday night because of a blizzard, drew a 15.2 overnight rating and 24 share on NBC. The network said that tied for the fifth-highest rating for a “Sunday Night Football” game this season.
San Francisco 49ers Pro Bowl inside linebacker Patrick Willis underwent a second surgical procedure this week on his broken right hand. He will miss a start for the first time in his four-year career in Sunday’s season finale against Arizona. Detroit Lions center and team captain Dominic Raiola was fined $15,000 using obscene words and a hand gesture to a fan after beating the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard will have surgery today on the middle finger of his right hand and will miss the season finale Sunday at Houston. Trent Edwards is likely to start in Garrard’s place. Also, Jags star running back Maurice Jones-Drew (injured knee) missed his fourth straight practice and is unlikely to play against the Texans. Interim 49ers coach Jim Tomsula named Alex Smith as the starter at quarterback for the team’s final game Sunday at home against the Arizona Cardinals. New York Giants leading receiver Hakeem Nicks is likely to miss the regular-season finale against the Washington Redskins because of a broken big toe on his left foot. Tampa Bay put rookie receiver Arrelious Benn (knee injury) on injured reserve, ending his season.