The most storied quarterback career in NFL history is coming to a close.
The Green Bay Packers have confirmed a story first reported by FOXSports.com that Brett Favre, the NFL's all-time career passing leader, has decided to retire.
"Brett Favre has informed us of his intention to retire from the Green Bay Packers and the NFL," Packers GM Ted Thompson said in a statement released by the team. "He has had one of the greatest careers in the history of the National Football League, and he is able to walk away from the game on his own terms — not many players are able to do that.
"The Packers owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude. He has given Packers fans 16 years of wonderful memories, a Super Bowl championship among them, that will live on forever. ... The uniqueness of Brett Favre — his personality, charisma and love of the game — undoubtedly will leave him as one of the enduring figures in NFL history."
The team scheduled an afternoon news conference with Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy, and said it was unsure when Favre might address the media.
After flirting with retirement for the last few years, Favre will finally go out on the heels of one of the best seasons of his career.
He led the Packers to the NFC Championship Game after passing for a stunning 4,155 yards, looking very much at times like a younger version of himself. In addition, he threw 28 TDs — including an overtime Hail Mary pass to beat Denver in front of a national audience — and had a 95.7 quarterback rating. He was also voted into the Pro Bowl, but declined to go.
Favre's agent, Bus Cook, said the quarterback told him of his decision Monday night.
"Nobody pushed Brett Favre out the door, but then nobody encouraged him not to go out that door, either," Cook said by phone from his Hattiesburg, Miss., office.
Favre leaves the game as the all-time leader in wins, passing yards, touchdowns and consecutive games started by a quarterback. A three-time MVP, the southern swashbuckler won fans over with his carefree style that epitomized the "gunslinger" moniker and made fans out of everyone from the guy next door to those already enshrined in Canton.
If in fact Favre does not have a change of heart, his final pass of a Hall of Fame Career was an interception by the Giants' Corey Webster, setting up New York's overtime win in the NFC title game.
For the last few years, the question of whether or not Favre was going to retire has been the most debated topic during the off-season. Two years ago he let his decision linger as reports both that he was returning and that he was retiring emerged. In fact, at one point he was supposedly going to announce his retirement at his charity golf tournament. Of course, those reports ultimately proved to be false.
After his final game of the 2006 season, a tearing and emotional Favre appeared on national TV and seemed to be bidding the game adieu. But once again, he had a change of heart and came back for what proved to be one heck of a final hurrah.
This time, Favre appears to have made his final decision. However, like in the past, Favre could wake up any day now and decide to change his mind, although that doesn't seem likely at this point.
The team will now shift to Aaron Rodgers, a former first-round pick, who has had few opportunities to play since being selected with the 24th overall pick in the 2005 draft. But when Favre was injured in a Thursday night game against Dallas this past season, Rodgers looked pretty good in relief. The former Cal star completed 18 of 26 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown — the first of his career — and nearly rallied the Packers to the win.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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