Favre met with Sherman for about 45 minutes

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Brett Favre doesn't want to go out like
this -- although he just might.

Favre was in a reflective mood after throwing four interceptions
in Green Bay's 31-17 loss to the hated Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau
Field on Sunday.

He said he didn't want his poor playoff performance to play a
role in his decision whether to retire or return to Green Bay for a
15th NFL season.

"It would be easy to walk off the field after that game and
say, 'I've had enough,'" Favre said. "But I'm going to try to be
as fair to myself and to this team as possible. I've had a lot of
great games. This obviously was not one of them. But I can't base
my decision on this game."

Favre met with coach-general manager Mike Sherman for about 45
minutes after the loss to discuss his future.

"He just had a long talk, a good talk and he just wanted me to
know that: don't make any decisions off of this one game, as tough
as that may be. And he's right," Favre said. "I still feel like I
can play."

Favre is still on top of his game -- he threw for more than 4,000
yards and 30 touchdowns again this season -- and he's guided Green
Bay to the playoffs 10 times, tops in the league during the salary
cap era.

"There's no fine line here. I love to play the game, I don't
think it's passed me by yet. It's a good thing to still have juice
to play and still physically be able to play," Favre said. "But
in some ways you almost want that decision to be made for you."

Favre suggested he give Sherman an answer by the draft in April
but Sherman can't wait that long. He said before he flies home to
Mississippi this week he expects to have a deadline from Sherman.

At 35, Favre feels the tug of family, not just football.

He's lost his father and his brother-in-law in the last 13
months. His oldest daughter attends high school in Mississippi and
his wife, Deanna, is fighting breast cancer.

"It's not about me anymore," Favre said. "My wife has gone
through some difficult times and continues to and so that is going
to play into my decision-making. I know if my family was up here
right now, they would say, 'He's coming back.' But I also have to
be fair to them, too, and they're going to be involved."

Favre, scheduled to make $6.5 million in 2005, said he's never
played for the money and won't start now.

"If I come back, I want to come back for the right reasons and
that's to lead this team to the Super Bowl," Favre said.

He's pretty certain he has the offense to do that, but the
dismal defense needs an overhaul so he's not always having to try
to win shootouts like on Sunday.

Still, Favre said he didn't seek assurances from Sherman about
personnel changes or acquisitions.

"You know what, I would not want the job of who to keep, who to
pick up because you're damned if you do, damned if you don't,"
Favre said. "I've never been one to pass the buck, had I had this
guy or had we had this ..."

He figures his job is simply to lead whatever players are on the field.

By the end of his news conference, Favre was smiling, his
shoulders loose. He looked relaxed as though the weight of the
season and the team's expectations were finally lifted. Not in
victory, but still.

He also seemed to be looking forward to getting away from
football, for a while, at least.

"My vacation is going home to Mississippi and hiding," he
said. "I'll probably think about this game until whenever. And to
block this game out and make a decision is going to be difficult.
But I will try my best."