MINNEAPOLIS -- Don't believe Brett Favre is finally done? ESPN
Well, the NFL's all-time leader of almost every major passing mark has at least filled out the forms.
Favre has made another move toward leaving the game for good by filing retirement papers with the league, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed Monday.
This is merely a procedural matter, to start the clock on a player's pension and Hall of Fame eligibility. It's worth noting, too, that Favre has done this before, only to change his mind. Retired players can request to be reinstated at any time.
But the news, first reported by Fox Sports on its website, was another sign that Favre's thrill-filled 20-year career has come to an end, as he repeatedly insisted throughout a painfully disappointing 2010 season for the Minnesota Vikings.
The 41-year-old threw for only 11 touchdowns in 13 games and was intercepted 19 times, finishing with a career-low 69.9 passer rating that ranked third-worst in the NFL among qualifying quarterbacks.
His body took quite a beating, getting knocked out of three different games while dealing with injuries to his elbow, foot, chin, neck, back, ribs and calf -- plus the sprained throwing shoulder that ended his all-time record streak of 297 straight regular-season games started. Then he suffered a concussion in what wound up being his last game, on Dec. 20 against the Chicago Bears.
"I know it's time, and that's OK. It is," Favre said after the season finale. "Again, I hold no regrets, and I can't think of too many players offhand that can walk away and say that. Individually and from a team standpoint, it was way more than I ever dreamed of."
Even if Favre were to change his mind, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said earlier this month that he wants no part of a Favre return next season.
"I cannot think of any circumstance of where I would pick up the phone and say, 'Brett, do you want to come back next season?'" Frazier said at his introductory news conference. "I can't think of any circumstance where that would occur."
After years of waffling, Favre cried as he announced his retirement from the Green Bay Packers in March 2008. With the Vikings interested but the Packers unwilling to let him join their rival, he was traded to the New York Jets.
Following one season there, he declared he was done again in February 2009. The Vikings wooed him back to the field that summer, though, and they rode his renaissance performance -- 33 touchdowns and a mere seven interceptions -- to the NFC Championship Game. After needing another summer of persuasion to return in 2010, however, Favre wasn't the same and the Vikings slumped badly to 6-10 while going through all kinds of drama.
An accomplished rambler, Favre was as skilled at controlling the message in his news conferences as any athlete, his slow Southern drawl masking a razor-sharp ability to turn the conversation. It was on display throughout the 2010 season, especially when he was confronted about allegations that he sent lewd pictures and messages to Jenn Sterger, a former Jets sideline hostess.
In the end, he was fined $50,000 by the NFL for failing to cooperate with the investigation.
So now Favre has headed home to Mississippi, presumably for good as his two-year contract with the Vikings is expiring. Favre's official website even sent out a marketing e-mail blast over the weekend, advertising a "Thanks for the Memories" poster for sale. A portion of the proceeds goes to the Favre 4 Hope Foundation, which helps disadvantaged and disabled children and breast cancer patients.