|Green Bay Packers QB Brett Favre retires after 17 seasons, says he's 'tired'|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 05 March 2008 01:24|
Brett Favre couldn't stomach the thought of forcing his battered body and mind through another year of tedious practices and merciless hits, only to have another chance at a championship yanked away in an instant.
So the 38-year-old icon turned his back on a promising young team Tuesday, telling the Green Bay Packers he finally is tired enough to retire.
``I know I can still play, but it's like I told my wife, I'm just tired mentally,'' Favre told ESPN. ``I'm just tired.''
With that, Favre walked away from a wild 17-year ride marked by fist-pumping highs and head-shaking lows owning every quarterback record worth having.
But he's leaving on a sour note: His 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.
And he leaves most folks feeling he had at least another good year left in him.
``I think he could have played again at the level that he just played this past season,'' Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. ``The film reflects that. The statistics reflect that. I thought he played at a very high level this year and definitely had a lot left in his tank.''
This certainly isn't Favre's first flirtation with retirement. He's made speculation about his football future an annual rite of winter in Wisconsin for several years running.
So is Favre just crying wolf, only to get the itch to return this summer?
``He seemed to be pretty good, at peace with his decision,'' Packers general manager Ted Thompson said. ``But as I've also said, it's a very complicated decision process that he has go to through on this. I guess you never say never, but I wouldn't anticipate that.''
Favre talked to McCarthy by telephone twice Monday night, indicating he intended to retire, then spoke to Thompson to finalize his decision Tuesday morning. Word then leaked out via a Fox Sports report, leading to widespread speculation about the reason for Favre's decision.
Thompson and McCarthy insisted it was clear the team wanted Favre back.
However, Favre's agent, Bus Cook, said: ``Nobody pushed Brett Favre out the door, but then nobody encouraged him not to go out that door, either.'' He spoke to the AP by phone from his Hattiesburg, Miss., office.
The Packers also said their lack of interest in wide receiver Randy Moss - a player Favre publicly lobbied the Packers to sign last offseason but who re-signed with the New England Patriots - wasn't a factor.
Thompson and McCarthy spoke at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, but the team has not said when Favre will address reporters.
Favre accompanied his youngest daughter on a field trip to Jackson, Miss., according to a woman who identified herself as someone who works for Favre. She spoke to an Associated Press reporter through a security intercom.
``I know the fans are absolutely devastated today,'' Thompson said. ``The Packers will move forward, but certainly we have all been blessed to see this man play this game the way he played it.''
The three-time MVP walks away with most of the NFL's significant passing records - most career touchdown passes, most career yards passing and most career victories by a starting quarterback - and a victory in the 1997 Super Bowl.
Favre retires with 5,377 career completions in 8,758 attempts, with 61,655 yards and 442 touchdowns. He 160 career victories.
He also holds the more dubious mark of 288 interceptions.
``Brett's career accomplishments will be measured among the greats of the game for the balance of time,'' said Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, Favre's former coach in Green Bay. ``He truly was as gifted a player as I have ever seen, and as proud and amazed as I am of what Brett has accomplished on the playing field. The thing that impresses me the most is what kind of a man and leader he has become off the field since I have known him.''
But perhaps Favre's most telling legacy will be his quarterback-record streak of 253 consecutive regular-season starts - illustrating his trademark toughness. Add in the playoffs, and Favre's streak stands at 275.
``Of all the records he holds, and he holds some magnificent records, the one that impresses me the most is he was there every single Sunday to play,'' Packers chairman emeritus Bob Harlan said. ``I think that's huge.''
And it made his departure all the more surprising.
``I was surprised when I heard it this morning,'' former Packers general manager Ron Wolf said. ``He played with such a great passion. He must have figured he no longer had that passion, and it was time to get out.''
Even Favre's teammates didn't see it coming.
``He played at such a high level this year, I think everybody to a man thought he was coming back,'' McCarthy said.
M, said he always figured Favre would go out with more fanfare.
``I always envisioned his teammates carrying him off the field, Sherman said, ``and his arm falling off as he left.''
Associated Press Writer Ron Harrist in Jackson, Miss. and sports writers Arnie Stapleton in Denver, John Wawrow in Buffalo, N.Y., and Brett Martel in Hattiesburg, Miss., contributed to this report.