Brett Favre was the NFL’s ultimate iron man for 19 years, inspiring coaches and teammates with unparalleled toughness and thrilling fans with a daredevil’s verve and a showman’s sense of the moment.
Yet the once-irrepressible Favre never looked older or more fragile than in year No. 20. The magic of last season, and most of his brilliant career, never seemed farther away.
It had to end some time. And Favre says that time is now.
The 41-year-old quarterback sat out Minnesota’s season-ending loss to the Lions on Sunday with a concussion, and it appears that perhaps the toughest man to ever play in the NFL had his career end not on the field trying to rally the Vikings to another victory, but on the bench.
“I know it’s time, and that’s OK. It is,” Favre said after the 20-13 defeat. “Again, I hold no regrets, and I can’t think of too many players offhand that can walk away and say that. Individually and from a team standpoint, it was way more than I ever dreamed of.”
He also retired in 2008 with the Packers and 2009 with the Jets, only to return to the field both times. He knows that there will be doubters again.
“I don’t know for me if it’s ever easy,” Favre said. “I’m sure throughout this year, the comment has been made that, ‘We’ll wait and see in August or September’ and that’s fine. It’s time. I’m OK with it.”
If this indeed is the end – for real, this time – one of the most colorful and celebrated careers in league history concluded with a season filled with interceptions, injuries and insults.
“It’s been a wonderful experience for me,” Favre said. “This year did not work out the way we would have hoped, but that’s football. I don’t regret coming back.”
Favre was picked off 19 times this season and his 69.9 quarterback rating is the lowest of his career.
“All indications, when I talk with him, and we’ve had many, many discussions – this is it,” interim coach Leslie Frazier said. “I don’t even think it’ll be an issue in the future. I don’t see any situation that’s going to change his mind.”
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