After 16 seasons with the Green Bay Packers, quarterback Brett Favre is retiring. He gave coach Mike McCarthy the news last night. In a statement on the team's Web site, general manager Ted Thompson said the Packers quote, "owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude" — and he was one of the few who could "walk away from the game on his own terms." Thompson said the 38-year-old Favre would be one of the most enduring figures in NFL history, and many of his records may never be duplicated.
Favre started 255 straight games, a record he broke long ago. This year, he broke some of the game's most famous career passing records, ending with 442 touchdown passes, 61,655 passing yards, and 160 victories. He led the Packers to a Super Bowl title in 1996, and a return to the Big Game in '97. Thompson said Favre would also be remembered for his personality, charisma, and love of the game. The quarterback's agent, Bus Cook, said Favre had no plans to hold a news conference. But the team wants to hold one, saying they'll announce arrangements once they're set.
When Ron Wolf became the Packers' GM in 1992, one of his first major moves was to trade a first-round draft choice to Atlanta for Favre.
Many fans literally questioned Wolf's sanity, after Favre had a lack-luster rookie season with the Falcons. He was pressed into service on September 20th of '92, after Don Majkowski went down with a knee injury late in the first quarter of Game-Three that year against Cincinnati. Favre threw a game-winning touchdown pass to Kitrick Taylor, and he never missed another start for the rest of his career.
Most indications were that Favre would return, after having one of his best seasons ever in 2007. He completed a career high 66-percent of his passes. And he threw for 41,055 yards and 28 touchdowns, while leading the Packers to within one game of the Super Bowl. In January, Favre told one of his best media friends — Al Jones from his home state of Mississippi — that for the first time in three years, he didn't think he'd be in his last game. He made it clear he wanted to continue. But some in the media say it's no coincidence Favre decided to quit on the same day receiver Randy Moss re-signed with New England for three more years. There were reports last week Moss was shopping himself around. And a year ago, there were numerous reports Favre was upset that the Packers didn't sign Moss before he went to New England.
As gritty as he was on the field, Favre was both colorful and controversial off it. In 1996, he battled an addiction to the pain-killer Vicodin, and he spent time being treated at a Kansas clinic. In late 2003, Favre lost his father Irv – who endeared himself to Packer fans with his down-home personality. A few weeks, Favre's brother-in-law was killed in an ATV accident in Mississippi. Soon after that, Favre's wife Deanna was diagnosed with breast cancer. And in 2005, several of his Mississippi family members lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina.
Also, Favre was publicly critical when teammates put their own good ahead of the team's. He slammed Sterling Sharpe when the receiver threatened to sit out a season opener in the '90's. And in 2004, Favre publicly chastised Javon Walker for missing the Packers' off-season activities. Walker showed up for training camp that year, but he was lost for the season after a knee injury in the regular season opener. He was traded the following spring. Favre also made waves in 2006 when receiver Koren Robinson was suspended for a year for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Favre criticized the league for not letting Robinson be with his teammates, or use the team's training facilities. He said it was like the league was turning its back on players who needed their teams' help more than ever. This morning, Robinson said he was surprised when he heard the news on TV.