MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Brett Favre has handed the Minnesota Vikings one more loss.
The 39-year-old Favre called Vikings coach Brad Childress on Tuesday to tell the coach he won’t be coming
out of retirement to play for Minnesota.
"It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made," Favre told ESPN. "I didn’t feel like
physically I could play at a level that was acceptable. I would like to thank everyone, including the
Packers, Jets and Vikings — but, most importantly, the fans."
The decision, which was first reported by the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, is a stunner for the Vikings
after they openly courted Favre all summer. Adding him would have been viewed by many as the final piece
for a team that already has star running back Adrian Peterson and a stingy veteran defense that returns
nearly intact from last year’s NFC North title season.
"It was a rare and unique opportunity to consider adding not only a future Hall of Fame quarterback
but one that is very familiar with our system and division," Childress said in a prepared
statement. "That does not detract from the team that we have."
Last year, Favre tearfully retired from the Green Bay Packers after 17 seasons in the NFL and three MVP
awards — then made an about-face and was traded to the New York Jets. He retired again, had surgery in
May to alleviate a torn biceps tendon and then flirted with the idea of coming back again with the
Vikings, the Packers’ NFC North rival.
"When I heard the news, I was probably as surprised and shocked as everybody else," linebacker
Ben Leber told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "The writing on the wall was as long as
his arm was healthy he was going to play. I thought it was just a contractual deal that was taking so
long and I really expected him to be at camp."
Favre turns 40 in October and didn’t think he had enough left to get through a full season.
"I had to be careful not to commit for the wrong reasons," Favre said. "They were telling
me, ‘You went through all this, you had the surgery and you’ve got to finish it off.’ But I have
legitimate reasons for my decision. I’m 39 with a lot of sacks to my name."
Now Childress has some damage control to do with Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels, the two veterans
who were expected to compete for the job before the latest Favre drama began.
Both were peppered with questions about Favre during the team’s minicamps this summer and are suddenly
back in the mix.
Jackson’s agent, Joel Segal, said he spoke to his client shortly after the news broke.
"He was his usual cool, calm and collected self," Segal said. "He said, ‘Great, let’s get
ready for camp.’"
Favre holds almost every NFL career passing record that matters, including touchdown passes (464),
completions (5,720), yards passing (65,127), regular-season victories (169) and interceptions (310).
Many thought he could help the Vikings land that elusive Super Bowl championship, even if he was reviled
by fans here during his incredible run across the state line in Wisconsin.
Favre instead passed on a chance for revenge on GM Ted Thompson and the Packers, whom he felt gave up on
him too soon when deciding to move forward last summer with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He was sent
instead to the Jets, where arm problems contributed to a 1-4 finish that kept them out of the playoffs.
Childress said Favre’s decision does not temper the team’s high expectations.
"As we have consistently communicated, we feel good about our team and they have put forth a
tremendous effort this offseason preparing for the season ahead," he said. "With this behind
us, we look forward to getting to Mankato and getting training camp under way."
Of course, this is Favre, which means there’s always the chance that he will change his mind. Former
teammate Matt Hasselbeck tweeted that "Brett has always been predictably unpredictable."
As far as Leber is concerned, however, the case is closed.
"In my mind this should be the end of it," he said. "To be respectful of the players that
are involved and the team as a whole, you have to put an end to this and you can’t let it linger