The Associated Press
The Associated Press
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 facial 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 said, “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 he leads the league with 442 touchdown passes, 61,655 yards passing and 160 career victories.
He started 253 consecutive regular-season games, more than any other quarterback in history.
“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.”
Around the league
TITANS: Jevon Kearse, who had his best seasons in Tennessee, agreed to rejoin the Titans, who will use him primarily as a situational pass rusher. He was released by Philadelphia, which also cut linebacker Takeo Spikes on Thursday. Cutting Spikes saves Philadelphia $5 million in cap room.
BEARS: Receiver Marty Booker returned to Chicago, agreeing to a two-year, free-agent deal worth a reported $3.5 million. After five years with the Bears, including a team-record 100-catch season, Booker was traded to Miami during the 2004 preseason.
JETS: The New York Jets signed fullback Tony Richardson, who played the last two seasons in Minnesota after 11 years in Kansas City. He was voted to his third Pro Bowl last season.
PATRIOTS: New England, which lost cornerbacks Asante Samuel and Randall Gay to free agency, signed two defensive backs – cornerback Lewis Sanders, who played for Atlanta last season and safety Tank Williams, who was with Minnesota. Sanders is an eight-year veteran and Williams a six-year veteran.
BRONCOS: Denver signed linebacker Boss Bailey, uniting him with his brother, star cornerback Champ Bailey. Boss Bailey spent his first five seasons in Detroit.
RAMS: St. Louis re-signed guard Adam Goldberg and agreed to terms with tight end Anthony Becht.
JAGUARS: Jacksonville re-signed offensive lineman Maurice Williams.
RAVENS: Baltimore agreed to terms with special-teamer Brendon Ayanbadejo, who used to play for the Chicago Bears.