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Sources: Favre tells teammates he's done
The Brett Favre saga continues, but could be coming to an end.
Sources told FOXSports.com that Favre has told teammates that he will not come back for his 20th season, citing wear and tear on his body. The Star Tribune in Minneapolis reported that Favre told Vikings officials a similar message Monday night.
Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said he learned of the messages by talking to several teammates, though he had not received any direct messages from Favre.
''He told a couple guys on our team he's going to retire,'' Shiancoe said after practice Tuesday evening. ''He hasn't told me, but I'm going to check my phone.''
But the team is still holding out hope that Favre will again change his mind, and considering his history, it's entirely possible. Sources close to the situation have also told FOXSports.com that the team may be prepared to offer Favre more money, in addition to more time, in an effort to get him to reconsider his latest decision.
Favre was under contract for $13 million this season, but only if he plays.
Speaking to reporters after practice Tuesday, Vikings head coach Brad Childress wouldn't confirm Favre's status with the team, saying it was a "fluid situation" and he could very well have a fresh message from the quarterback waiting for him.
"I'm not a big hearsay person," Childress said. "I gotta hear it from the horse's mouth."
However, this is the strongest indication yet that the legendary quarterback could, in fact, retire for good.
Minnesota players and coaches have long been convinced that Favre would come back and play this season after last year's magical run that took the Vikings to within one game of the Super Bowl, falling to the New Orleans Saints in overtime, 31-28, in the NFC Championship game.
''I plead the fifth on everything,'' defensive end Jared Allen said. ''I love Brett and he reserves the right to do what he wants to do. We obviously love him as a teammate. We'd like to have him back. But until it's official, I'll believe it when I see it.''
Star running back Adrian Peterson said he still hopes that Favre will be handing him the ball in the season opener on Sept. 6 in New Orleans. Peterson said he exchanged text messages with Favre on Tuesday but declined to give details.
''I'm still up in the air like you guys trying to figure out what's going to happen,'' Peterson said. ''I'm sure he'll make the best decision for him.''
Every Minnesota player asked about Favre reacted with hesitation after three years of answering questions about Favre's future.
''It's always back and forth with Brett,'' said quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, in line to get the starting job if Favre is gone. ''It's his decision. He deserves the opportunity to decide when he's going to retire or not, whether he wants to retire or not. It's up to him. Right now, I'm just trying to focus on getting better.''
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"It's like believing in Santa Claus. You get gifts, but you ain't seen Santa Claus," he said. "We'll see what happens ... If he does retire, congratulations. It's a well-deserved retirement. But if he does come back, we'll be gunning for him the same way."
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who grew up in Wisconsin as a Favre fan, said he was surprised the veteran might hang it up after playing so well last season.
"If it is (true), then we were lucky enough to watch an unbelievable talent and great guy," Romo said. "But it's better to go the year before than a year too late."
Favre, who had surgery on his left ankle in May, has been working out in Hattiesburg, Miss., and was recently visited by Childress just a few weeks ago so the two could get on the same page. It now appears the only page Favre will be on is in the history books.
When Favre, who turns 41 in October, officially retires, he will go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play. Favre holds numerous NFL records, including most career touchdown passes, most career passing yards, most career pass completions and most career victories as a starting quarterback.
But probably the most remarkable of all, Favre started a record 285 consecutive games during the regular season, an amazing feat for any player, let alone a quarterback, dating back to Sept. 27, 1992. To give you an idea of just how astounding that is, only one other active quarterback, Peyton Manning, has more than 100 consecutive starts. And during that time, 212 other quarterbacks have started in the NFL.
Favre, who played his college ball at Southern Mississippi, was drafted in the second round by the Atlanta Falcons in 1991. Then-Atlanta coach Jerry Glanville wasn't pleased the Falcons picked Favre and as a result, he didn't see much action. In fact, his first NFL pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. He only attempted five passes that season, completed none and had two interceptions.
Green Bay general manager Ron Wolf traded a first-round pick to the Falcons the following season to acquire Favre, setting in motion one of the league's great love affairs, as Favre played the next 16 seasons with the Packers, leading them to seven division championships, four NFC Championships and two Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl XXXI, 35-21, over the New England Patriots. He also won three consecutive MVP awards from 1995-97.
But like a lot of love affairs these days, the separation wasn't pretty.
Favre tearfully announced his retirement in March of 2008, but indicated at the time that he thought he could still play, but didn't know if he wanted to.
Just four months after the announcement, Favre contacted the Packers in July, indicating he wanted to play again. While the Packers weren't thrilled with the news, they also didn't want to grant Favre his unconditional release. After his reinstatement to the league, Favre and the Packers agreed to part ways, making the divorce official when he was traded to the New York Jets in August.
Favre and the Jets got off to a great start, winning eight of their first 11 games, highlighted a Favre-best six touchdown passes in a Week 4 win over Arizona. However, the Jets lost four of their final five games, with Favre throwing eight interceptions and only two touchdown passes in those games as New York failed to make the playoffs. Favre, who finished with 22 touchdown passes and 22 interceptions, had a torn biceps tendon in his right shoulder and again announced his retirement.
Which set the stage for yet another astonishing return last August. After surgery to repair his torn bicep, the now almost-comical "will he or won't he play again" saga dominated the sports world for months. After announcing on July 28th that he would remain retired, Favre changed his mind and signed with the Vikings on Aug. 18.
And while the Vikings were loaded with talent, the 2009 season played out like a script even Hollywood might not have written, given its improbability. Favre, at age 40, had one of the best statistical years of his career, throwing for 4,202 yards and 22 touchdown passes with a career-low seven interceptions in leading the Vikings to a 12-4 regular season record and the NFC North title.
The Vikings defeated the Dallas Cowboys in their first playoff game, with Favre throwing four touchdown passes and no interceptions, becoming the first quarterback to ever win a playoff game at the age of 40.
But the clock struck midnight in Favre's fairytale season, as the Vikings fell in OT to the Saints in the NFC Championship game, with Farve's final throw ending in an interception.
After the heartbreaking loss, there were initial reports that Favre would retire. But we've been here before and the "Favre Watch'' was officially on again.
So after off-season surgery on the ankle, Favre again began working out in Hattiesburg and by all indications, most people, including the Vikings, thought he'd return.
But just as his returns have been a surprise, so now, might Brett Lorenzo Favre's departure.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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