Tired of retirement issue

Enough's enough. Brett Favre is tired of reporters asking him questions about when he is going to retire, so the star quarterback is not going to respond to any inquiries on the issue until he's ready to hang it up. When is anybody's guess, including Favre's.<p>

Favre's retirement from football escalated throughout the season last year to the point that the spacious media auditorium at Lambeau Field for his season-ending press conference was packed with reporters anticipating him to announce his retirement. Various reports of his retirement hit a crescendo when he bolted from the locker room after Green Bay's home playoff loss to the Atlanta Falcons last January.

"I can't even remember how the whole retirement thing started, but whoever started it needs to be shot," Favre said as he joked with the Green Bay media on Thursday.

Favre is attending this week's mandatory minicamp. Rookies, including Green Bay's nine draft picks, will begin practice today and continue through Sunday.

Packers coach and general manager Mike Sherman met with Favre in early March at Favre's off-season home in Hattiesburg, Miss. Favre said Sherman never attempted to "squeeze an answer out of me" during their visit, but both had a good talk about his thoughts on last year's team and the upcoming season. Favre says he dreads practicing, like always, but he is anxious to begin another season and help the Packers defend their NFC North Division title.

As far as retirement goes, he politely asked reporters to refrain from the question. He said last year it was not a distraction to him but he grew tired of the same questions.

  "I can't say that I won't be asked the question at some point between today and the end of the season," he said. "I'd be stupid to think somebody who is not around here all the time and say, ‘Well, I know you've answered these questions ...' and my response to them is, ‘I'm not going to talk about it.' Hopefully after today we put it to rest.

    "Last year it was an annoyance to me. It wasn't a distraction. If it was a distraction to the guys in the locker room, I can't answer that. I'm sure that they were asked questions about it. I can assure you most of those guys didn't pay attention to it. I know if anything it probably was a distraction to Mike (Sherman) in a sense that he didn't want it to be talked about because he knew I didn't know. As much as we tried to put it to rest, the more it seemed like we were adding fuel to the fire.

    "I'm like Mike. Just leave it alone. I don't know. I really don't know. I hope that it's not injury that forces me out. If I can still play the way I'm capable of playing and able to compete the way I feel I can compete, we'll just see. We'll leave it at that, and at the end of the season, I won't be fielding all those questions again." Favre says that he will be "physically and mentally ready" when training camp begins in mid-July. He says he works out and lifts weights on his 400-plus acre property in Mississippi, cuts his own grass and often ponders his future.

Favre, who turns 34 in October, is entering his 12th season with the Packers and 13th overall in the NFL. He compared his career at this stage to his high school days when he couldn't wait to move on. Unlike his high school days, he wants to stick around the NFL as long as he can be effective.

"I feel like it's going to be the same way (as high school), so I want to enjoy it and play as long as I can, as long as my heart's in it, as long as injuries are not a factor," Favre said. "As Mike said when he came (to Hattiesburg), ‘There will be plenty of time to cut the grass.' He doesn't understand the grass part of it (deadpan). I don't think he's ever cut grass before. There will be plenty of time to do that. I think when July rolls around, I will be eager.

    "I think as you get closer to the end of your career, and I know I'm closer than I was a few years ago, but you never know when it's going to be the last play or the last game so you want to get the most out of it. That the way I feel."

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