The brief Brett Favre era in New York is over.
Favre has informed the Jets he is retiring after 18 seasons in the NFL, ending a record-setting career in which he was one of the NFL’s premier quarterbacks.
I have no reason to wonder why you would be so skeptical,” Favre said Wednesday with a slight chuckle after announcing he was leaving the game after 18 record-setting seasons.
“I had a great conversation with Brett this morning,” Jets chairman Woody Johnson said. “Considering that he came from a totally different environment and joined our team during training camp, his performance last season was extraordinary.”
The 39-year-old instructed agent James “Bus” Cook to tell the team of his decision, six weeks after Favre’s only season with the Jets ended in disappointment as New York failed to make the playoffs. FOXSports.com’s Jay Glazer confirmed the decision first reported by ESPN.
“I have family and friends who are like, ‘All right, Brett. Is this the real deal?”‘ Favre said during a conference call. “To me, it is. It is. Believe me. It’s been a wonderful career, I couldn’t ask for anything more. It was worth a shot for me to go to New York. I wish I could’ve played better down the stretch. I didn’t.
“It’s time to leave.”
The team has been expecting a decision recently and the new coaching staff earlier this week finally sat down to address the issue.
“When we acquired Brett, we knew we would get everything he had,” Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said. “He took the time to mentor younger players and his competitiveness and enthusiasm at practice and during games was contagious.”
The move comes as no surprise as Favre struggled greatly down the stretch.
Unlike last year, when he retired as a Packer only to then make a comeback with the Jets, this really should be it for Favre.
There are many who believe Favre didn’t want to play this past season, unless it was for the Packers or Vikings, preferably the latter.
But after creating a monstrous controversy, he painted himself into a corner.
Those close to him say at first he enjoyed his new lease on football life in New York, but halfway through the season the honeymoon began to deteriorate.
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 at the end, 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 and Kerry included — were a pleasure to play with. (Coach Eric Mangini) could not have been any better. I enjoyed playing for him.”
In talks with the team brass Wednesday morning, Favre told the Jets that he did not want to hold the team hostage and while he still thinks he can play, he felt it was the right decision.
He also mentioned his injured shoulder, which gave him problems down the stretch. But that didn’t seem to be the overriding factor.
“Emotionally, I’m OK with it,” said Favre, who spent the day on his bulldozer and doing yard work on the grounds at his home in Kiln, Miss. “I really felt like it was time. Obviously, the circumstances last year were a lot different. Physically, if I felt better, we may not be having this conversation, but I think that’s more than anything the writing on the wall.”
“(The shoulder was) something that obviously I was able to play with,” he said. “I don’t think I was nearly as productive as the season progressed, but it very well could be fine next year. I’m well aware of that. But then again, it could linger and bother me throughout the year and I just felt like it was time. I think that, to me more than anything, was a wakeup call.”
Favre threw nine interceptions and two TD passes in five games as the Jets faded from 8-3 to 9-7. He finished with 22 TD passes and 22 interceptions for the Jets.
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.”
The three-time NFL MVP also 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.”
All-Pro kick returner-running back Leon Washington also said he enjoyed playing with Favre.
“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 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.
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.
Favre, named a team captain just weeks after joining the Jets, was coming off one of his most productive seasons, passing for 4,155 yards, his most since 1998, with 28 TDs and 15 interceptions. After an introduction to the city by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Favre struggled to get in synch with his receivers and learn the playbook.
But by midway through the season, Favre appeared at the top of his game again — and had the Jets atop the AFC East at 8-3 with consecutive road victories at New England and Tennessee. Then came the free-fall in which New York lost four of its last five.
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.