Favre rules out a re­turn to play­ing foot­ball again

Fu­ture Hall of Fame QB pack­ing it up once and for all

The Covington News - - Sports - By Chris Jenk­ins

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Sit­ting by him­self on an air­plane ride up to Green Bay on Thurs­day morn­ing, Brett Favre strug­gled to find a sin­cere and grace­ful way to say he was fin­ished with foot­ball.

In the end, his tears told the story.

“I know I can play but I don’t think I want to,” Favre said, chok­ing with emo­tion in a news con­fer­ence at Lam­beau Field two days af­ter he an­nounced his re­tire­ment. “It’s been a great ca­reer for me, but it’s over.”

Wear­ing an un­tucked col­lared shirt, blue jeans and sev­eral days’ worth of stub­ble, Favre said he was con­vinced he could still play on Sun­days, but had lost his pas­sion to prac­tice and pre­pare the way he would need to lead the Pack­ers to an­other Su­per Bowl.

Given that fact, he could draw only one con­clu­sion: It was over.

“As they say, all good things must come to an end,” Favre said. “I look for­ward to what­ever the fu­ture may hold for me.”

Af­ter a farewell news con­fer­ence that lasted just over an hour, Favre put his arm around his tear­ful wife, Deanna, and left the stage — pre­sum­ably for good.

He takes with him a Su­per Bowl vic­tory, vir­tu­ally ev­ery quar­ter­back record worth hav­ing and the wide­spread ad­mi­ra­tion of his peers and fans.

The 38-year-old Favre also leaves with gray­ing hair and a de­lib­er­ate gait — signs that the years were qui­etly tak­ing a toll on the man who was cel­e­brated for play­ing a se­ri­ous and pre­cise game with the care­free joy of a lit­tle boy.

He cried Thurs­day as he dis­cussed his de­ci­sion.

“I promised I wouldn’t get emo­tional,” he said. But as the tears flowed, he added, “I’ve watched hun­dreds of play­ers re­tire and you won­der what that would be like. You think you’re pre­pared ...”

Favre thanked the Green Bay Pack­ers for let­ting him play.

“I hope that with ev­ery penny they’ve spent on me,

they know it was money well spent,” he said. “It wasn’t about the money or fame or records. I hear peo­ple talk about your ac­com­plish­ments and things. It was never my ac­com­plish­ments, it was our ac­com­plish­ments.”

Favre is the NFL’s only three-time MVP, and leads the league with 442 touch­down passes, 61,655 yards pass­ing and 160 ca­reer vic­to­ries. He started 253 con­sec­u­tive reg­u­larsea­son games, more than any other quar­ter­back in his­tory.

Favre also holds the more du­bi­ous mark of 288 in­ter­cep­tions — an in­di­ca­tion of the wild streak that only made him more hu­man to the fans who adored him.

The same was true of Favre’s highly pub­li­cized strug­gles with an ad­dic­tion to pre­scrip­tion painkillers, his sup­port of his wife through a bat­tle with breast can­cer, and a mem­o­rable Mon­day night game against Oak­land af­ter he lost his fa­ther.

Favre’s exit comes af­ter a re­mark­able 2007 sea­son, but his fi­nal pass was one to for­get: An in­ter­cep­tion in over­time of the NFC cham­pi­onship game, a mis­take that set up the New York Gi­ants’ field goal that sent the Pack­ers home in­stead of to the Su­per Bowl.

Most folks fig­ured Favre couldn’t exit that way, es­pe­cially when he had at least one more good year left in him.

But bar­ring a change of heart in the up­com­ing weeks, months or years, the fi­nal chap­ter in his sto­ried foot­ball ca­reer be­gan Mon­day night.

Favre called Pack­ers coach Mike McCarthy and told him he planned to re­tire, then fi­nal­ized his de­ci­sion in a con­ver­sa­tion with Pack­ers gen­eral man­ager Ted Thompson on Tues­day morn­ing.

But un­til the news con­fer­ence, Favre hadn’t ex­plained his de­ci­sion to his fans. He said Thurs­day there was noth­ing left to prove.

“I’m go­ing out on top,” he said. “Be­lieve me, I could care less what other peo­ple think. It’s what I think, and I’m go­ing out on top.”

Favre’s re­tire­ment came as a sur­prise to Pack­ers ex­ec­u­tives, coaches and team­mates, vir­tu­ally all of whom ex­pected him to re­turn. And it was a shock to fans who sat pa­tiently, year af­ter year, while Favre flirted openly with re­tire­ment — be­cause, of course, he never re­ally meant it.

To a gen­er­a­tion of fans who watched Favre start ev­ery game since tak­ing over as the Pack­ers’ start­ing quar­ter­back dur­ing the 1992 sea­son, it didn’t make sense. He wouldn’t just de­cide he was too tired to play and walk away. Would he? Re­cent com­ments by Favre’s agent, Bus Cook, stirred sus­pi­cions about the “real” rea­son Favre was re­tir­ing.

Had the Pack­ers’ front of­fice not done enough to talk him into com­ing back?

Was Favre’s re­tire­ment a knee-jerk re­ac­tion to the fact that wide re­ceiver Randy Moss, a player Favre lob­bied the Pack­ers to sign a year ago, had re-signed with the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots with­out an ap­par­ent ef­fort from the Pack­ers?

Favre’s com­ments Thurs­day in­di­cated the de­ci­sion was much sim­pler.

“I did it, but it got hard,” he said. “I don’t think it would get eas­ier next year or the fol­low­ing year. It hasn’t up un­til this point. It’s only got­ten tougher and some­thing told me ‘You know it’s got­ten too hard for you.’ I could prob­a­bly come back and do it. Suck it up. But what kind of a toll would that take on me, my fam­ily or my team­mates? At some point it would af­fect one of those if not all of them. Maybe it has al­ready. I don’t know.”

A bearded Favre said Thurs­day he had no def­i­nite plans for the fu­ture and did not know whether he would be in­volved in foot­ball or with the Pack­ers.


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