Favre texts Vikes teammates he’ll retire (AP)

Aug 4th, 2010 | By sportsnews | Category: Sports

MANKATO, Minn. (AP)—With everyone assuming Brett Favre(notes) was returning for a
20th NFL season, the Minnesota Vikings were enjoying a relatively calm and quiet
training camp as they started preparations for another run at the Super Bowl.

All that tranquillity, and certainty, is out the window now.

Favre has told some teammates and Vikings officials that his surgically
repaired left ankle is not healing the way he would like it to and that he will
not return to Minnesota this season.

“He told a couple guys on our team he’s going to retire,” tight end
Visanthe Shiancoe(notes) said after practice on Tuesday. “He hasn’t told me yet. I’m
going to check my phone right now, but it hasn’t been said publicly yet so I
don’t know what to believe.”

Even with Favre’s history of flip-flopping, the revelations came as a
surprise to most surrounding the Vikings. They reported to training camp last
week confident that after they wrapped things up in Mankato on Aug. 12, Favre
would join them in the Twin Cities—just as he did last season.

But Favre’s messages to teammates turned things upside down on a sweltering
day. Owner Zygi Wilf, vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman and vice
president of football operations Rob Brzezinski were seen huddling during
practice in long discussions.

Head coach Brad Childress said after the morning practice that he had not
been directly contacted by Favre and called the 40-year-old quarterback’s status
with the team “fluid.” Childress has shown a great deal of patience with
Favre, saying he would not set a deadline for a decision and allowing him to
skip training camp for a second straight year.

“It wouldn’t surprise me one way or the other, whether he elects to play or
whether he elects to retire,” Childress said. “I think all of us can live with
it either way. The big thing is that he is at peace with it.”

With Favre, of course, there is always the chance that he changes his mind,
and that’s what the Vikings are hoping for yet again. He told the Vikings last
year he wouldn’t play, but ultimately ended up joining them after they broke
training camp. Childress even drove to the airport to pick him up for his 19th
NFL season.

Favre and his agent, Bus Cook, did not return messages from The Associated
Press, and most players aren’t taking Favre’s messages as definitive just yet.

“I love Brett and he reserves the right to do what he wants to do,”
defensive end Jared Allen(notes) said. “We obviously love him as a teammate. We’d like
to have him back. But until it’s official, I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Star running back Adrian Peterson said his gut feeling was that Favre would
be handing him the ball in the Sept. 9 opener against New Orleans, and that is
what Saints receiver Lance Moore(notes) expects to see as well.

“I don’t believe it,” Moore said at Saints camp in Metaire, La. “As
competitive as he is, I would be shocked if he wasn’t here for opening night.”

Favre has considered retiring every summer since 2002. It led to an ugly
parting with the Packers that got him traded from Green Bay to the Jets in 2008.
After a so-so season in New York, he announced his retirement in early 2009 for
the second time, then reconsidered and signed with the Vikings.

He had one of his best seasons last year, with career bests in completion
percentage (68.4), quarterback rating (107.2) and fewest interceptions (7),
while throwing for 33 TDs and 4,202 yards to lead the Vikings to an NFC North
title. He hurt his left ankle in the NFC championship loss to the New Orleans
Saints
and had arthroscopic surgery in May.

Favre was under contract for $13 million this season, but only if he plays.

With unproven Tarvaris Jackson(notes) in line to start at quarterback if Favre does
retire, the Vikings know they need him back.

“It definitely will be a blow to the team (if he retires),” Shiancoe said.
“Be real. It will be a setback to the team. It’s just something that I’m pretty
sure the reason has to be a strong reason.”

Favre has been working out at Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, Miss.,
to see if the ankle can handle another year in the NFL. He will turn 41 in
October.

There are plenty of guys in purple who think the NFL’s iron man has one more
season left in him.

“I’m going to try to get him here every chance I get,” Shiancoe said.
“I’m going to try to send him texts or something. But at the same time, I know
he made a decision for a reason and hopefully that reason transforms or gets
better.”

If this is indeed the end for Favre, what a career.

A three-time league MVP (1995-97), Favre won the Super Bowl in 1997 with the
Packers. His 11 Pro Bowl appearances are the most ever by a quarterback. He
holds most major NFL records for a quarterback, including career touchdowns
(497), yards passing (69,329); wins (181); and seasons with at least 3,000 yards
passing (18).

Of course, he also has thrown the most interceptions (317) and been sacked
503 times—a long, long history of wear and tear.

“It’s like believing in Santa Claus. You get gifts, but you ain’t seen
Santa Claus,” said linebacker Nick Barnett(notes), whose Packers will be challenging
the Vikings for the NFC North title this year. “We’ll see what happens … If
he does retire, congratulations. It’s a well-deserved retirement. But if he does
come back, we’ll be gunning for him the same way.”

AP Sports Writers Chris Jenkins in Green Bay, Wis. and Brett Martel in
Metaire, La., contributed to this report.

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