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Published: Thursday, 2/12/2009

Jets' Favre retires without the tears

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Favre Favre
DON HEUPEL / AP Enlarge

NEW YORK - Brett Favre swears this is the real deal - no more last-minute comebacks.

The 39-year-old quarterback retired again yesterday and insisted he won't look back. Well, at least for now.

"I have no reason to wonder why you would be so skeptical," Favre said yesterday with a slight chuckle after announcing he was leaving the game after 18 record-setting seasons.

Favre, who retired last March only to return a few months later, kept this goodbye simple - no tearful farewell or jam-packed news conference. He spoke to the New York Jets yesterday morning, telling owner Woody Johnson, general manager Mike Tannenbaum and coach Rex Ryan that he was calling it a career.

"I have family and friends who are like, 'All right, Brett. Is this the real deal?'" Favre said during a conference call. "To me, it is. It is. Believe me. It's been a wonderful career, I couldn't ask for anything more. It was worth a shot for me to go to New York. I wish I could've played better down the stretch. I didn't.

"It's time to leave."

The Jets placed Favre on the reserve-retired list, meaning the quarterback's retirement paperwork had been filed with the NFL - something he didn't do last winter with the Packers.

"Emotionally, I'm OK with it," said Favre, who spent the day on his bulldozer and doing yard work on the grounds at his home in Kiln, Miss. "I really felt like it was time. Obviously, the circumstances last year were a lot different. Physically, if I felt better, we may not be having this conversation, but I think that's more than anything the writing on the wall."

His decision came six weeks after his only season with the Jets ended in disappointment as New York went 1-4 down the stretch and failed to make the playoffs.

A major reason for the collapse was Favre, who threw nine interceptions in those five games. He said he played with a torn biceps tendon in his right shoulder that got worse later in the season and needed a cortisone injection after the team's game at San Francisco in Week 14.

"It's something that obviously I was able to play with," he said. "I don't think I was nearly as productive as the season progressed, but it very well could be fine next year. I'm well aware of that. But then again, it could linger and bother me throughout the year, and I just felt like it was time. I think that, to me more than anything, was a wake-up call."

Favre insisted that even if his shoulder felt better next season, he's still done with playing.

"It's nothing I would second-guess, no," he said.

If this is indeed it for Favre, he leaves the game with a slew of records, including career touchdown passes (464), completions (5,720), yards passing (65,127), regular-season victories (169) and interceptions (310).

"With Brett, there was always the possibility that he wouldn't play the second year," Johnson said. "We were hoping to get one good year out of Brett Favre. We picked him based on, in our opinion, his giving us the best chance to win last season. We were disappointed not to have made the Super Bowl, but we did some very good things with Brett."

The team improved from 4-12 in 2007 to 9-7, but the late-season woes cost Eric Mangini his job - and perhaps tarnished Favre's legacy a bit.

"I honestly believe I did everything I could do," he said. "I'm proud of everything I've done."

Favre had two years left on his contract and was due $13 million for next season, clearing a chunk of salary cap space for the Jets.

The three-time NFL MVP holds the mark among quarterbacks with 291 consecutive starts, including the playoffs, despite playing through several injuries throughout his career.

He finished his season with the Jets with 3,472 yards passing and 22 touchdowns, but the 22 interceptions were his most in three seasons.

ALAMEDA, Calif. - The Oakland Raiders claimed quarterback Bruce Gradkowski off waivers from the Cleveland Browns.

The former University of Toledo standout spent his first two NFL seasons with Tampa Bay, starting 10 games as a rookie in 2006. He briefly played for St. Louis last year before joining the Browns, appearing in two games and starting the season finale against Pittsburgh.



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