Viking Teammates Say Brett Favre Will Retire

Brett Favre reportedly is retiring from the NFL — again. The record-setting quarterback was planning on playing another season for the Minnesota Vikings, but he has apparently told teammates he plans to retire.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Brett Favre reportedly says he's retiring again.� The last time the quarterback said he was retiring, he did not, and went on to lead the Minnesota Vikings to the playoffs. This year, teammates say the quarterback has again been telling people he will not be back.

NPR's Mike Pesca is back with us. Mike, good morning.

MIKE PESCA: Hi.

INSKEEP: Does he mean it this time?

PESCA: I don't know. No one does. And remember, he's retiring again, again. So there's that going on.

INSKEEP: Oh, yes, yes.

PESCA: Yes. Yes. So, I mean, why should we believe him? He's old. He's the oldest player in the NFL aside from punters and kickers. And he's injured. Injury's a part of the game, but they accumulate. And this year in his offseason there was ankle surgery. And he's played a lot of football. There's no single thing left for him to accomplish.

He's won a Super Bowl, multiple MVPs. He's certainly going to the Hall of Fame. And he has all the records based on accumulating statistics - all the "most" records. Most touchdowns, most completions, most interceptions.

So he's done it all. No one can say that Brett Favre hasn't accomplished tons in his many years of playing football. And football's a brutal game. This guy was born in the '60s. Maybe he wants a break.

INSKEEP: And you talk about ankle injuries. That seems to have been mentioned in some of the messages that Brett Favre has left for teammates, that the ankle injury isn't recovering quite the way that he would've wanted. But at the same time, this is a guy who keeps coming back and coming back, as athletes will.

PESCA: Right. And the weird thing about the ankle injury is last season he had surgery on his shoulder, you know, much more important to the throwing motion. That was seen as actually a more complicated surgery or more severe injury than the ankle injury.

The thing to recognize about Brett Favre - obviously all the people who follow football feel they were burned last time, so now they're saying I'll see it when I believe it. But I think maybe not a lot of people are underlining the fact that Brett Favre really hates training camp.

And it's understandable. He's 39 - he's 40 years old. You know, he doesn't want to live in a dorm. This year, the big news with the Vikings is their training camp, the dorms that they live in, now they're air-conditioned this year. But he doesn't want to have to put up with that. And he hasn't been to a complete training camp, you know, all the days since 2007. He really does know the Vikings offense pretty well.

So I think maybe he's just - if there was a narrative, well, why would he being saying this and then coming back? Is he just Hamlet? This is what one would say if one wants to get out of a couple weeks of training camp.

INSKEEP: Oh, so your theory or your hypothesis here is that he's retiring from training camp but may be back for the regular season?

PESCA: Right. But he can't announce that, you know. That would hurt team morale. Training camp's a little like a four-way stop sign, right? If everyone ignores it we're in huge trouble. But if one guy ignores it, you know, maybe we could live.

INSKEEP: Could this be a problem for the Vikings if he sits out training camp and then shows up for the season?

PESCA: It probably won't, because last year it was thought to have been, even though he was playing on a new team, but he was somewhat familiar with the system. He just had an excellent year last year.

The NFL has this stat called passer rating, which is arcane and people don't understand it. It's not the best stat, but it does give you some idea of how good a quarterback is. Brett Favre, according to this stat, had the 12th best season in the history of the NFL. He threw for 33 touchdowns against the fewest interceptions he's thrown in his career. So it was an amazing year. After no training camp, why can't he do it again?

INSKEEP: He's had a bunch of the best seasons in the history of the NFL, hasn't he?

PESCA: Yeah. He's a really great quarterback. And, you know, his legacy, as I said, all the accumulation statistics. The thing is, it does put the Vikings in a bad situation, but this is why teams - even NFL teams that like to think that they organize themselves with military precision - it's why they put up with Favre. He's just that good.

And without him, perhaps the Tarvaris Jackson era will begin in Minnesota. I don't think that's one many Viking fans would rather see than a continuation of the Favre era.

INSKEEP: Mr. Pesca, thanks very much.

PESCA: You are welcome.

INSKEEP: NPR's Mike Pesca bringing us the latest on Brett Favre of the Minnesota Vikings, who has reportedly told teammates he won't be back. We'll bring you more on that developing story as we learn it.

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