By Alex Cooze (NYC/AP)-
As it comes to no surprise to NFL fans across the nation, New York Jets quarterback Brett Favre announced his retirement from football for the third time in the past three years.
The 39-year-old quarterback told the New York Jets on Wednesday that he was retiring after 18 seasons, ending a record-setting career in which he became one of the NFL’s all-time greats.
“We had an all-encompassing conversation,” owner Woody Johnson said of his discussion with Favre. “He told me at that point that he had made his decision to retire and thanked everybody and talked about what a great experience he had with the New York Jets.”
Favre’s decision came six weeks after his only season with the Jets ended in disappointment as New York failed to make the playoffs. In an e-mail to ESPN, Favre said he has no regrets about finishing his career in New York and praised Johnson, general manager Mike Tannenbaum and fired coach Eric Mangini.
“My time with the Jets was short, but I’m honored to be given that chance,” Favre wrote in the e-mail.
If this is indeed it for Favre, he leaves the game with a slew of records, including career touchdown passes (464), completions (5,720), yards passing (65,127), regular-season victories (169) and interceptions (310).
Favre tearfully retired last March then changed his mind, prompting a bitter divorce with Green Bay. He was traded to the Jets in August and was a Pro Bowl selection despite an overwhelmingly disappointing season that cost Mangini his job.
“With Brett, there was always the possibility that he wouldn’t play the second year,” Johnson said. “We were hoping to get one good year out of Brett Favre. We picked him based on, in our opinion, his giving us the best chance to win last season. We were disappointed not to have made the Super Bowl, but we did some very good things with Brett.”
And the team doesn’t expect Favre to change his mind.
“He did not ask to be released,” Tannenbaum said. “Everything he said was, he is done playing football. We have our plan according to that, and we’re going to move forward.”
When asked if the door might be open to Favre if he again decides to come back, Tannenbaum said he wanted to stay away from hypotheticals.
“He felt he had given us everything he had, and it was time for him to move on,” Tannenbaum said Favre told him.
Running back Thomas Jones and safety Kerry Rhodes were critical after the season of Favre and his performance. The Jets went from 8-3 to missing the playoffs. Favre threw nine interceptions as the Jets went 1-4 down the stretch, and a torn right biceps might have contributed.
Still, Favre had nothing but positive things to say about his Jets experience.
“Mike and Woody, as well as the entire organization, have been nothing short of outstanding,” Favre said in the e-mail. “My teammates — Thomas (Jones) and Kerry (Rhodes) included — were a pleasure to play with. Eric could not have been any better. I enjoyed playing for him.”
As did All-Pro kick returner-running back Leon Washington.
“The longevity of his career and his love for the game is truly inspiring,” Washington said. “I’m privileged to have played with not only a Hall of Fame QB, but also a great role model.”
New York hired former Baltimore defensive coordinator Rex Ryan to replace Mangini, and he, along with Johnson and Tannenbaum, repeatedly said they wanted Favre to return. Instead, Favre spent several weeks after the season at his home in Kiln, Miss., away from football before deciding to retire — again.
New York now will move forward with a new quarterback, whether that will be Kellen Clemens, Brett Ratliff, Erik Ainge or perhaps a veteran free agent such as Jeff Garcia, Kerry Collins, Byron Leftwich or Rex Grossman.
“We’ve got three quarterbacks on the roster, and I think we feel pretty good that in a competition among those guys, we’ll end up with a pretty good quarterback,” Johnson said.
Favre had two years left on his contract and was due $13 million for next season, clearing a chunk of salary cap space for the Jets.
“It was an honor to coach against Brett over the years,” Ryan said in a statement. “If he’s not the best quarterback ever, then he’s certainly in the conversation. I have great admiration for him as a player and a person. I wish him only the best in his life after football.”
The three-time NFL MVP holds the mark among quarterbacks with 291 consecutive starts, including the playoffs, despite playing through several injuries throughout his career.
“It was a great honor to play with Brett,” wide receiver Chansi Stuckey told The Associated Press. “He had an illustrious career, and I want to thank him for giving the Jets the opportunity to play with him.”
After the Jets’ season-ending 24-17 loss to Miami, Favre said he felt discomfort in his arm “for quite a while.” It turned out to be a torn biceps tendon that didn’t require surgery.
It wasn’t all bad with the Jets for Favre, who showed a few glimpses of greatness — as well as great zip on his passes — early on. He threw a career-high six touchdown passes, tying Joe Namath’s team record, in a 56-35 victory over Arizona in Week 4. Favre also helped rejuvenate the franchise, drawing thousands of fans to training camp practices.
He finished with 3,472 yards passing and 22 touchdowns, but the 22 interceptions were his most in three seasons.
Favre was drafted by Atlanta in the second round of the 1991 draft but was traded after the season to Green Bay for a first-round pick. In the third game of the 1992 season, Favre stepped in for an injured Don Majkowski. He started the following week against Pittsburgh, beginning a streak that was still intact when he first retired.
During his 16 seasons with Green Bay, he helped lead the Packers to consecutive Super Bowls, including a victory over New England in 1997.
Copyright Associated Press 2009