Pack­ers QB Brett Favre re­tires af­ter 17 sea­sons

Fu­ture Hall-of-Famer says he’s ‘tired’ af­ter 17 years

The Covington News - - Sports - By Chris Jenk­ins

Af­ter flirt­ing with re­tire­ment for years, Brett Favre means it this time. The Green Bay Pack­ers quar­ter­back quit af­ter a 17-sea­son ca­reer in which he daz­zled fans with his grit, heart and rocket of an arm.

“I know I can still play, but it’s like I told my wife, I’m just tired men­tally. I’m just tired,” Favre told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen in a voice mail mes­sage.

Tues­day’s sur­prise move comes af­ter the 38-year-old three-time MVP set sev­eral league records, in­clud­ing most ca­reer touch­down passes, in one of his most suc­cess­ful sea­sons.

Favre’s agent, Bus Cook, said the quar­ter­back told him of his de­ci­sion Mon­day night.

“No­body pushed Brett Favre out the door, but then no­body en­cour­aged him not to go out that door, ei­ther,” Cook told The As­so­ci­ated Press by phone from his Hat­ties­burg, Miss., of­fice.

Pack­ers gen­eral man­ager Ted Thompson thanked Favre for 16 years of won­der­ful mem­o­ries with the team.

“He has had one of the great­est ca­reers in the his­tory of the Na­tional Foot­ball League, and he is able to walk away from the game on his own terms — not many play­ers are able to do that,” Thompson said in a state­ment.

The team sched­uled an af­ter­noon news con­fer­ence with Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy, and said it was un­sure when Favre might ad­dress the me­dia.

Favre led the Pack­ers to the NFC cham­pi­onship game in Jan­uary, but his in­ter­cep­tion in over­time set up the New York Gi­ants’ win­ning field goal.

“If I felt like com­ing back — and Deanna (Favre’s wife) and I talked about this — the only way for me to be suc­cess­ful would be to win a Su­per Bowl,” Favre told ESPN. “To go to the Su­per Bowl and lose, would al­most be worse than any­thing else. Any­thing less than a Su­per Bowl win would be un­suc­cess­ful.”

Hall of Fame quar­ter­back Troy Aik­man won­dered if

Favre’s de­ci­sion was fi­nal.

“As the sea­son gets closer, I wouldn’t be sur­prised at all if he changes his mind,” said Aik­man, a Fox an­a­lyst who played 12 years with the Dal­las Cow­boys. The news sur­prised many. “I just saw it come across the TV,” Pack­ers wide re­ceiver Koren Robin­son said, when reached on his cell phone by The As­so­ci­ated Press.

Added Wis­con­sin Gov. Jim Doyle: “For 16 years, Brett Favre brought fun and ex­cite­ment to Lam­beau Field. His tal­ent, en­ergy and en­thu­si­asm for the game will be missed.”

Last sea­son, Favre broke Dan Marino’s ca­reer records for most touch­down passes and most yards pass­ing and John El­way’s record for most ca­reer vic­to­ries by a start­ing quar­ter­back.

He re­tires with 5,377 ca­reer com­ple­tions in 8,758 at­tempts for 61,655 yards, 442 touch­downs and 288 in­ter­cep­tions.

“He was the pro­to­typ­i­cal gun-slinger type,” said Marv Levy, Pro Foot­ball Hall of Fame coach. “He’s the type of guy where, ‘Oh, what’s he throw­ing into that crowd for?’ But he had in­tu­ition, tough­ness, re­silience.”

In his fi­nal sea­son, Favre also ex­tended his quar­ter­back­record streak of con­sec­u­tive reg­u­lar-sea­son starts to 253 games — il­lus­trat­ing his trade­mark tough­ness. Add the play­offs, and Favre’s streak stands at 275.

In the past sev­eral off­sea­sons, Favre’s in­de­ci­sion about his foot­ball fu­ture be­came a win­ter tra­di­tion in Wis­con­sin, with Cheese­heads hang­ing on his ev­ery word.

Un­like af­ter the 2006 sea­son — when Favre choked up in a television in­ter­view as he walked off the field in Chicago, only to re­turn once again — nearly ev­ery­one as­sumed he would be back next sea­son.

It was a re­mark­able turn­around from 2005, Favre’s fi­nal sea­son un­der for­mer head coach Mike Sher­man, when he threw a ca­reer-worst 29 in­ter­cep­tions as the Pack­ers went 4-12.

Sur­rounded by an un­der­rated group of wide re­ceivers who proved hard to tackle af­ter the catch, Favre had a ca­reer-high com­ple­tion per­cent­age of 66.5. He threw for 4,155 yards, 28 touch­downs and only 15 in­ter­cep­tions.

Be­fore the Pack­ers’ Jan. 12 di­vi­sional play­off game against Seat­tle, Favre told his home­town news­pa­per that he wasn’t ap­proach­ing the game as if it would be his last and was more op­ti­mistic than in years past about re­turn­ing.

“For the first time in three years, I haven’t thought this could be my last game,” Favre told the Biloxi (Miss.) Sun Her­ald. “I would like to con­tinue longer.”

But Favre fin­ished the sea­son on a sour note, strug­gling in subzero tem­per­a­tures in a 23-20 over­time loss to the New York Gi­ants in the NFC cham­pi­onship game.

Af­ter­ward, Favre was non­com­mit­tal on his fu­ture. McCarthy said he wanted Favre to take a step back from the sea­son be­fore mak­ing a de­ci­sion.

Now he has — to walk away.

“The Pack­ers owe him a tremen­dous debt of grat­i­tude,” Thompson said. “The unique­ness of Brett Favre his per­son­al­ity, charisma and love of the game — un­doubt­edly will leave him as one of the en­dur­ing fig­ures in NFL his­tory.”

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