Central Issues

Despite his team's early exit from the playoffs, <!--Default NodeId For Brett Favre is 292423,2002--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:292423]>Brett Favre</A> feels the <!--Default NodeId For Green Bay is 114,2005--><A HREF=http://packers.TheInsiders.com>Green Bay</A> Packers will be Super Bowl contenders next season and he wants to be a part of it.

As rumors of his retirement reached a crescendo Monday morning, the Chicago Bears nemesis stepped to a podium at Lambeau Field and told a media room packed with reporters that he plans to continue playing football.

"I don't see any reason why I shouldn't," said Favre. "As I've said during the season, I have every intention of coming back, wanna be back. There's no reason why this team shouldn't compete for a Super Bowl next year and I shouldn't be a part of it. Hopefully, we'll leave it at that and next year y'all can start asking me the same questions again."

Favre led the Packers to their fourth division title and eighth playoff berth in his 11 seasons as the Packers' starting quarterback. But Green Bay was whipped, 27-7, in an NFC Wild Card playoff at Lambeau Field Saturday night, ending a season many thought would take the Packers to Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego.

Favre left the stadium immediately after the game Saturday and declined for one of the few times in his career to speak with the media afterward. He said he was frustrated and "wasn't in a real good mood and didn't feel like talkin'." But he also revealed that he wanted to make a quick escape to be with his 3-year-old daughter, Breleigh, who was leaving for his off-season home of Hattiesburg, Miss., the next day.

"So, I was home and in bed while you guys were probably still here waiting," Favre said. "Deanna (Favre's wife) got home probably 45 minutes after I had left the stadium and we were in bed watching cartoons. I don't know what else to tell you but that's it. She was leaving yesterday and I wanted to get a chance to see her. ... Not to mention that I wasn't in a great mood, but I wanted to try to get home before she fell asleep."

Favre, 33, had a nightmarish game, completing just 20 of 42 passes with two interceptions for a 54.4 passer rating. The Packers lost their first-ever playoff game at home and finished with a 12-5 record. In the meantime, some national and local reports aired that Favre was going to announce his retirement from football.

He said that he has spoken with Deanna Favre about retirement, but that Deanna, his daughters, Brittany, 12, friends and family have encouraged him to continue playing. Plus, he feels like he is playing at a high level and is physically able to continue. Favre finished four votes shy of winning a fourth NFL Most Valuable Player award this season, throwing for more than 3,600 yards and 27 touchdowns as the Packers won the NFC North Division with a 12-4 record.

"I was as disappointed after that game the other day as I was after the Jets game as I've been since the Rams game last year," Favre said. "I also realize that there are things I have to be thankful for. Health is one of 'em. The way I've played the last few years is encouraging. The way these young guys played, and the way this organization every year is really committed to winning and doing the right thing. It just makes my decision so much easier to come back."

The Packers were eliminated from the NFC Division playoffs last year by the St. Louis Rams, who rolled to a 45-17 victory. This year, the Packers blew a golden opportunity to get a first-round bye and home-field advantage in the playoffs by losing 42-17 to the red-hot New York Jets in the regular season finale. The Packers finished with a 12-5 record overall, but went 4-4 in their last eight games.

Injuries played a big part, especially in the last two weeks when the team lost Pro Bowl safety Darren Sharper and top reserve cornerback Tod McBride. Wide receiver Donald Driver also suffered a shoulder injury against the Jets that limited him against the Falcons.

"In my 11 years, I don't know if I've ever seen a team face the adversity that we've had to face and still win 12 games," Favre said. "... To have a chance to go into the playoffs with a bye and home-field advantage would have been amazing when you consider how good we were in '97 and have to go to San Francisco and win a championship game. You compare the two teams, you would think that that team would have had home-field and this team wouldn't have even had a chance, but we did and it didn't work out for us. I just think it's something great to build off of."

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