DETROIT - Brett Favre says it's time to call it a career. He sat out Minnesota's season-ending loss to Detroit Sunday with a concussion, then said he's finished. He missed three of his final four games because of injury after starting an NFL-record 297 straight games.
"It's been a wonderful experience for me," Favre said after watching the Vikings lose, 20-13, to finish in last place in the NFC North. "This year did not work out the way we would have hoped, but that's football. I don't regret coming back. I enjoyed my experience here."
Favre says it was the wise choice not to play against the Lions. He didn't pass a concussion test until late in the week and didn't want to risk long-term damage by playing.
Favre says he has no regrets about returning for a 20th season, even though he finished with the lowest quarterback rating of his career (69.9), threw 19 interceptions and was fined $50,000 for failing to cooperate with an NFL investigation into allegations of tawdry interactions with a game-day hostess when both worked for the Jets in 2008.
Favre, 41, was asked if it was easier for him to walk away after such a difficult season. The Vikings (6-10) finished last in the division for the first time since 1990, coach Brad Childress was fired at midseason and the Metrodome's roof collapsed in December, forcing the Vikings to play "home games" in Detroit and at the University of Minnesota's outdoor stadium.
"I don't know for me if it's ever easy," Favre said. "I'm sure throughout this [season], the comment has been made that, 'We'll wait and see in August or September [of 2011 if he'll un-retire],' and that's fine.
"It's time. I'm OK with it."
There were no tears this time around, as there were when he previously announced retirements with the Green Bay Packers in 2008 and the Jets in 2009. He declined to respond to a question asking for his reaction about being fined, and thanked the Vikings, the Packers, the NFL and the fans.
"That's the thing every player and former player that I've talked to . . . will tell you that what you miss is the guys, the fellowship, the bus rides, locker rooms, winning and losing together, celebrating together," Favre said. "That's the things you're going to miss. If I sat here and told you I would not miss that, I'd be kidding myself. From a playing standpoint, there's nothing else left to do."
Assuming this is the end, Favre departs as the career leader in victories (186), yards passing (71,838), touchdown passes (508), attempts (10,169), completions (6,300) and interceptions (336). He was drafted in 1991 by Atlanta but never completed a pass for the Falcons before moving on to Green Bay, where he spent 16 seasons, won three MVP awards and led the Packers to a Super Bowl win in January 1997.
After the Packers grew weary of his indecisiveness about retirement, they traded him to the Jets. After an 8-3 start, he spent a 9-7 season with the Jets before joining the Vikings in 2009.
He led Minnesota to the NFC title game last season, but his interception in Saints territory near the end of regulation prevented the Vikings from trying a winning field goal. New Orleans won in overtime and went on to win the Super Bowl.