Favre “retires” again

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Read below from ESPN – Favre told Bus Cook to tell the Jets he is retiring. Apparently Cook also asked the Jets re the possibility of releasing Favre, but the Jets declined. Curious. This article is loaded with other noteworthy tidbits re his feelings re Thompson and the Packers organization. Here is the article:

February 11, 2009, 9:51 AM ET

Favre plans to retire — again

By Ed Werder and Chris Mortensen
ESPN.com

Without the tearful public ceremony that accompanied his retirement announcement from the Green Bay Packers just 11 months ago, quarterback Brett Favre has instructed agent Bus Cook to inform the New York Jets Wednesday that he plans to retire.

In an e-mail to ESPN’s Ed Werder, Favre indicated he had no regrets about finishing his career with the Jets rather than with the Green Bay Packers franchise he represented for his previous 16 NFL seasons. He specifically praised Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum, team owner Woody Johnson and fired coach Eric Mangini — and even mentioned Thomas Jones and Kerry Rhodes, both of whom were publicly critical of Favre after the team’s collapse in the final month of the season prevented the Jets from making the playoffs.

My time with the Jets was short, but I’m honored to be given that chance.

– Brett Favre

“Mike and Woody, as well as the entire organization, have been nothing short of outstanding,” Favre said in the e-mail. “My teammates — Thomas and Kerry included — were a pleasure to play with. Eric [Mangini] could not have been any better. I enjoyed playing for him. My time with the Jets was short, but I’m honored to be given that chance.”

The Jets did not have an immediate comment. A Jets official said Tuesday night that no definite word had come from Favre yet but added, “that can change any minute.”

The Jets already have begun discussing their options at quarterback and spent a good portion of Tuesday studying the 2009 class of draft-eligible college quarterbacks. The team is unconvinced that Kellen Clemens, a former second-rounder, is capable of being Favre’s replacement. There also appears to be a conviction to seek a quarterback with significant arm strength to play through the challenges of windy, cold-weather climate that often is a factor in Jets games.

While Favre did not directly broach the subject of the team simply releasing him so that he might have the option of signing with another team such as the Minnesota Vikings, a source said that Cook informally discussed the option with the Jets. The Jets respectfully declined that option, the source said.

Favre’s retirement will save the Jets his $13 million salary in salary cap space. The Jets are in one of the worst salary-cap situtations in the NFL.

The retirement decision should not have surprised the Jets even though the team had publicly encouraged Favre to play another season. Favre informed Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum before the Super Bowl that he was leaning toward retirement. At some point within the past week, Favre told Cook to inform the Jets that he wanted to retire without fanfare and that the team could make the decision public at its convenience.

In what appears to be his final NFL season, Favre threw 22 touchdown passes and an NFL-high 22 interceptions while leading the Jets to a 9-7 record — a five-game improvement over their previous season without him.

A week after the Jets’ season ended without a playoff berth, Favre hinted to Werder during a telephone interview that he would probably retire because he lacked the motivation necessary to continue playing and felt prepared for life after football. “I have the ability to turn it off just like that,” he said. “I don’t feel I have anything else to prove. Do I have to redeem myself for the last five games? No. I could be trying to do that until I’m 60 years old. There is nothing left out there for me from that standpoint. I’m disappointed with the last five games, sure, but I know I did everything I could have.

“I didn’t play as well down the stretch. It was probably a little bit of everything. It’s hard for me, but I have to say I gave out down the stretch.”

In that same conversation, Favre conceded that he had an abundance of motivation to play for the Jets at the beginning of last season, most of it inspired by the spite he maintained for Packers GM Ted Thompson for trading him from Green Bay to New York. Favre felt Thompson had taken Favre’s team from him, believed it had become personal, described the Packers as dishonest and concluded that the most accomplished quarterback in history had been exiled to the Jets precisely because it was something of a football purgatory, where no championships had been won in the four decades since Joe Namath.

“They sent me to New York because they didn’t play the Jets, they were 4-12, so they didn’t have to play me, they knew we had very little chance of making the playoffs and they knew it was not likely that we’d have a better year than they did,” Favre told Werder. “I was aware of all of that and more than up to the challenge because they felt they were shipping me off to Siberia and they’d never hear from me again. So was I coming back to play because I loved the game or to prove them wrong? Probably a little bit of both.

“Maybe initially I came back for the wrong reasons,” Favre says now. “It was like, “OK, they don’t want me to play, then I’ll play somewhere else and show them I can still play.”

He knew there would be comparisons between his statistics and those of the quarterback who replaced him in Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers, the very first player Thompson drafted when he took over the Packers’ front office. Favre admits that his family and friends were consumed with keeping him informed about how his numbers measured against those of Rogers and constantly urged him to throw more touchdown passes than his replacement. Favre admits to virtually no interest in that kind of intramural competition. But he was devout in doing whatever he could to ensure that the Jets accomplished more than the Packers.

“The only thing I worried about was winning,” he said. “There was a time in my career where I paid more attention to individual stats, but in the last couple of years the most important thing was winning and losing. In the end, that’s what matters most. Was I pissed at Green Bay? Sure. But I wasn’t pissed at their players. I did keep up with the wins and losses. Sure, it was hard not to do that. I didn’t wish them bad, but I wished us better.”

Accomplishing that goal seemed unlikely. Removed from a Packers team that finished 13-3, Favre inherited a 4-12 Jets team.

Favre admitted the transition was difficult. There were moments of extreme doubt that threatened to become actual regret, when Favre admits he wondered if he had made a terrible mistake. “Numerous times,” he said. “Traveling was much more difficult. Nothing was easy in the whole transition, except for dealing with the guys on the team; that was the easy part, and I thought that would be the hard part. But let me tell you: when we rolled into the house the Tuesday morning after that San Diego game, I thought to myself, “What in the hell?”

In the third week of the season, Favre threw three touchdown passes, was intercepted twice and suffered a sprained left ankle in a 48-29 loss on Monday Night Football to the Chargers.

But Favre persevered. He became more comfortable, played more confidently, accomplished feats not even he had experienced. He threw six touchdown passes in a single game against the Arizona Cardinals.

The next week, the Jets took over sole possession of first place from the defending AFC champion New England Patriots. Favre orchestrated the unimaginable 34-31 triumph, leading consecutive scoring drives on the last possession of regulation and the first of overtime. He admitted afterward that nobody in the building was more nervous and says these were the moments that brought him out of retirement.

The next week would prove just as monumental. There was Favre was throwing touchdown passes and celebrating joyously as he and the Jets completed a 34-13 road upset of the Tennessee Titans, the final undefeated team in the league.

“There’s not many games left for old Brett Favre, so I’m glad this one turned out the way it did,” he said moments later.

When asked how winning a handful of big games for the Jets compared to doing the same for 16 years with the Packers, and his answer hinted at the animosity that may never leave him. “It feels great — as good, if not better. My career in Green Bay was great. It was awesome, maybe better than awesome. Will I have a 16-year career in New York? I doubt it. But I’m going to try and lump 16 into one and see what happens.”

It doesn’t get better than this, Favre thought. And, sadly, he was right. It would not get better than that moment.

“At that point, it was, Go get your Super Bowl tickets,”’ Favre says. “That’s what was so disappointing — how quickly we rose, and then fell.”

After the victories in New England and Tennessee, the Jets were considered potentially the best team in the AFC and a legitimate Super Bowl contender. But the Jets failed badly in December, losing four of their final five games, and Favre’s performance with an ailing right shoulder was a primary reason. In the final five games, Favre threw nine interceptions and only two touchdown passes. When the season was finished, Favre revealed he had a torn biceps tendon and that doctors had urged him to have surgery if he intended to play in 2009. He decided against both.

“It sucks getting old,” he said. “At 40 years old, your mind tells you that you can do all the things you could in your younger years but the body doesn’t cooperate. As I look back on it, I had my moments where people said, “It was the same Brett Favre, just a different uniform.”

Immediately after his first Jets season, Favre had decided that if it was also his final NFL season that there would be no press conference as there had been 11 months ago in Green Bay.

“I’m an emotional guy, and I’m sure people are tired of seeing me get emotional,” he explained. “People would probably say, ‘Oh, here he goes again.’ I think it would just be better for me to just thank the Jets, and I sincerely mean that. It was well worth what I invested. But I’m going to just quietly step away if that’s what happens.”

That is exactly what has just happened.

Ed Werder is an NFL reporter for ESPN. Chris Mortensen is a senior NFL analyst for ESPN.

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6 Responses to “Favre “retires” again”

  1. Ron La Canne Says:

    As I understand the rules, Favre’s football future belongs to the Jets for two years. Any change of mind would then require the Jets to take some action. Return him to the roster, trade hime, or release him.

    Hmmmmmmmmm! No that wouldn’t happen. Would it?

  2. dreampipe Says:

    Sad to see it all go down like this, over the last two seasons. And to think we were 25 yards away from the Super Bowl last year…

  3. DaveK Says:

    I agree dreampipe – It is very sad how this played out for both Packer fans and Favre. It seemed Favre and the Packers were a marriage made in heaven and having to endure the ugly divorce is brutal. For me, I put some faith in TT and MM that they were making a football decision in the best interest of the Packers. It is about winning a championship and they made the gutsy call that they had a better shot of winning one with Rodgers over the next 5 years then with Favre for one more season.

  4. 56Coop Says:

    That’s funny Ron. Hopefully he’s serious this time

  5. Cindy V Says:

    I just hope that after all that turmoil in Green Bay, the disappointing season for the Jets and the firing of his coach, that coming back for one more season was really worth it to Brett.

  6. Ron La Canne Says:

    56,

    I hope so too. In the last 6 Jets games of 2008, it was so obvious that Favre had absolutely no arm strength. I sincerely believe that this is really the end of his playing days. Jets doctors recommended off-season surgery on the biceps of his throwing arm and he refused. If left untreated an injury like that does not ever heal to 100%.

    So it’s time for TT and MM to give him a call and start putting the past behind us. If he refuses, well, we all have verification that he is a world class a-hole. Let him retire as a Jet.

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