Brett Favre has retired. Again.
Favre broke the news in an e-mail to ESPN's Ed Werder on Wednesday morning, then held a conference call on Wednesday evening in which he said an injured throwing shoulder led to his decision.
The news comes about 11 months since his tear-filled news conference at Lambeau Field on March 6, 2008, when he announced his retirement for the first time.
During a conference call, Favre was asked if this time, he was retiring for good.
"I have no reason to wonder why you would be so skeptical," Favre joked. "I have family and friends who'll say, 'All right, Brett, is this the real deal?' 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."
Meanwhile, the Packers reaffirmed their plans to honor Favre. His jersey was supposed to have been retired in the season opener with Minnesota.
"Congratulations to Brett on a remarkable career," the team said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon. "The Packers organization wishes him and his family well. Brett always will hold a special place in Green Bay Packers history, and we remain committed to retiring his number at an appropriate time in the future."
Asked about the jersey retirement, Favre says he hasn't thought about it, and hinted it might be awhile before he's up to it. He called it a "touchy" situation.
"The teammates I played with in Green Bay and the fans, nothing has changed since Day One," said Favre, adding he was "not mad" at general manager Ted Thompson. "It's a shame what unfolded throughout this whole thing. I don't know, I don't have an answer for that right now. It may be five years, it may be first game. I have no idea."
Favre, who turns 40 in October, denied reports that his agent, James "Bus" Cook, had asked the Jets to give Favre his release, presumably so he could sign with Minnesota. Favre said he had no desire to have surgery to prolong his career.
"Physically, for the most part I feel the same, aside from the most important thing, and that's my throwing shoulder," Favre said. "It progressively got worse throughout the year. Other than that, I can't complain. I'm very thankful and blessed. I've played so much for so long. I guess it was just a matter of time before something broke down. For a quarterback, the most important thing is his throwing shoulder.
"It was something I was able to play with but I don't think I was nearly as productive as the season progressed. 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. I just felt like it was time, that more than anything it was a wakeup call."
Favre said he had no regrets about finishing his career in New York after spending 16 mostly brilliant seasons leading the Packers to 160 wins, four NFC championship game appearances, two Super Bowls and won championship.
He started 2008 in New York like he played most of 2007 in Green Bay — like an MVP candidate. But the 39-year-old Favre fell apart down the stretch, just like he had struggled at the end of his final three seasons here. A torn biceps tendon played a role in his throwing two touchdown passes and nine interceptions as the Jets went 1-4 to close the season and miss the playoffs. Then, he was ripped publicly by teammates Thomas Jones and Kerry Rhodes, along with other anonymous comments.
"Mike (Tannenbaum, the Jets' general manager) and Woody (Johnson, the Jets' owner), 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. Eric (Mangini, who since has been fired as coach) could not have been any better. I enjoyed playing for him. My time with the Jets was short, but I'm honored to be given that chance.''
The Jets finished 9-7 after going 4-12 in 2007. The Packers went from 13-3 with Favre in 2007 to 6-10 without him.
The Jets owe the Packers a third-round draft pick for Favre. Because Favre played only one season, the Packers owe the Jets a seventh-round selection.
No doubt, Favre's decision is a good-news/bad-news situation for the Jets, who made millions of dollars by selling Favre's jersey and the like but entered this offseason far over the salary cap after a spending spree last year. Eliminating Favre's $13 million cap figure will be a big help.
Favre exits as the record-holder in every major passing category: 5,720 completions, 9.280 attempts, 65,127 yards, 464 touchdowns and 310 interceptions. Favre, who was selected for his 10th Pro Bowl following this season, also holds the record with 169 wins and 269 consecutive starts.
Those, Favre insists, will be his final numbers.
"Emotionally, I'm OK with it," Favre said. "I really felt like it was time."
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Lambeau Level forum.