Favre says he's leaning toward retirement

Updated: January 30, 2006, 6:25 PM ET
ESPN.com

Brett Favre would like to wait until training camp to decide whether to retire or return to the Green Bay Packers for a 16th season.

But the quarterback realizes this amount of time is likely not a luxury he will be afforded.

Quarterback
Green Bay Packers

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2005 SEASON STATISTICS
Att Comp Yds TD Int Rat
607 372 3711 20 29 70.9

"I wish I knew where I stood," Favre told Chris Mortensen in an interview that aired as ESPN's Sunday Conversation. "If I had to pick right now and make a decision, I would say I'm not coming back."

In the interview at his home in Mississippi, Favre told Mortensen he would like more time to decide whether to return for another NFL season. But he understands the Packers need to know soon to properly prepare for the NFL draft and other offseason personnel matters.

"I'd like to wait till training camp," Favre said with a laugh. "But I know I have to make the decision in the next month for their sake."

Favre said he's told Packers general manager Ted Thompson recently that if the team doesn't want to wait for him to commit to either playing the 2006 season or retiring, then he should be "cut loose."

"I love the game too much and I love my legacy too much to have that just be OK," Favre said, "and I don't want to be just OK. I want to be good, and I don't know if I'm committed enough [right now] to be good on an everyday basis."

I want to be good, and I don't know if I'm committed enough [right now] to be good on an everyday basis.
Brett Favre

Favre suggested to Mortensen it was not his physical shape that was complicating his decision, instead acknowledging a host of factors -- his daughter's upcoming high school graduation, off-field moves and whether at "crunch time, with two minutes left" in a game he would be able to say he wants the ball.

"It's a matter of how much I'm willing to give. I don't want to come back and three games into [the season] say, 'What am I doing?' "

As he's said in the past, Favre maintains he's physically capable of continuing his career, but the intangibles will ultimately decide whether he returns. He has suggested that his $10 million salary in 2006 might diminish the team's interest in retaining him.

"I still know I can play, I still love to play, but there's still much more to it. I never thought I'd give out mentally before I gave out physically," he said.

Favre has also hinted that the Packers' offseason moves would play a role in his decision and it isn't clear what impact the team's hiring of Mike McCarthy to succeed Mike Sherman as coach has had.

McCarthy met with Favre on Friday and Thompson traveled to Favre's home earlier in the week to talk to him, but would not offer details of the conversation.

Favre told Mortensen he has told Thompson he won't return for the money or records, saying, "It's not about me. ... I want to make the right decision for everyone involved."

"When you sit down and tell a GM, 'I don't know if I can give you everything' -- and I have -- that's usually the first ticket out of town," Favre said Sunday.

McCarthy had worked as a tutor to Favre while he was the Packers' quarterbacks coach in 1999. However, Favre's agent, James Cook, suggested his client might have been more likely to return to the team in 2006 if Green Bay had hired Steve Mariucci, a former Packers assistant who was later the head coach in San Francisco (1997-2002) and Detroit (2003-05).

Green Bay is coming off a 4-12 season, Favre's worst as a Packer, after winning its season finale 23-17 over Seattle.

Favre, who finished with a career-worst 29 interceptions, said the Packers' final game had been on his mind long before he took the field, relating a talk he had with his former coach, the Seahawks' Mike Holmgren, in the month preceding it.

"We had a good conversation in late November or early December and I told him, 'It might be my last game and that I was so thankful you'll be there for it.' He said, 'If it is, I'll be glad I was there for it, too.'"

"The game meant nothing," Favre said, "but in a lot of ways it meant a lot."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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