Brett Favre, the National Football League’s all-time passing leader, told the New York Jets he is retiring, and this time the 39-year-old quarterback apparently means it.
Favre walked away from the NFL last year after a legendary career with the Green Bay Packers, only to change his mind as the season approached and after the Packers had moved on with replacement Aaron Rodgers.
That mess was not settled until Favre was traded to the Jets last August and sparked the club to a 9-7 season, missing the playoffs by losing four of their last five games.
“My time with the Jets was short, but I’m honored to be given that chance,” Favre told ESPN in an e-mail.
Favre made a league-record 269 consecutive starts at quarterback and ended his NFL career with 5,720 completions in 9,281 passes for 65,127 yards and 464 touchdowns and 169 victories — all NFL records.
“You name it in professional football and I’ve done it,” Favre said on Wednesday evening. “Not too many people can say that. I wouldn’t trade my career for anything.”
The Jets will save US$13 million under NFL salary cap rules with the departure of Favre, but will need to fill the starting slot, having only three inexperienced quarterbacks on the roster.
“We had a great conversation today and he said he was done playing so we took him at his word on that. Everything was about him not wanting to play,” Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said. “He told us he no longer wanted to play football, that he was done and that he was moving on.”
Jets chairman and chief executive Woody Johnson said there were no regrets at making the move for Favre only to see him leave after a single season.
“We didn’t get as far as we would have liked. The decision was the right one to make,” Johnson said. “We thought at that point he would give us the best chance to win. We thought this was the best chance we had to improve the team, even at his age.”
Six weeks after his final game and 11 months after his first retirement from the NFL, Favre brought down a final curtain on an 18-year career in part due to an ailing right shoulder that he said would influence his future choices.
“It all comes down to physically how I feel,” Favre said. “That could change with arthroscopic surgery, but I’m not willing to do that. I’m not willing to take that chance and that’s why I’m retiring.”
Favre, a three-time NFL Most Valuable Player, led Green Bay to victory in the 1997 Super Bowl and sparked the Packers back to the title game the following season only to lose to Denver.
He said he didn’t regret giving it one more shot with the Jets last season.
“It was worth a shot for me to go to New York. I wish I could’ve played better down the stretch,” he said. “I didn’t. It’s time to leave.”
Things would not have been the same for Favre had he returned to the Jets, who fired coach Eric Mangini after the late-season collapse and replaced him three weeks ago with Rex Ryan.
“It was an honor to coach against Brett over the years,” Ryan said. “If he’s not the best quarterback ever, then he’s certainly in the conversation. I have great admiration for him. I wish him only the best in his life after football.”