Brad Childress, the Minnesota Vikings coach, yesterday denied star quarterback Brett Favre has already told him he will retire this summer, but admitted he would not be surprised if the call came soon. Reports suggested Favre had begun telling Vikings officials he would not be back for a 20th professional season, but Childress said the news was yet to reach him.
"It's fluid. We text back and forth all the time," he said after a morning practice session. "I'm not aware of [the reports]. Someone told me that coming off the field. "Players, team-mates text back and forth all the time. But obviously I've been out here for the last three hours. If and when he does something one way or the other, he'll communicate with me. "He has not [told me anything]. I have talked to him in the last 24 hours."
Favre has been weighing his future again this summer after having ankle surgery, but Childress said he is not pressing the 40-year-old for an answer. "It wouldn't surprise me one way or the other whether he elects to play or if he elects to retire," he said. "I think we can all live with it either way." Favre signed for the Vikings last summer, and went on to throw for 4,202 yards with 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions during the regular season.
The Vikings beat the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the play-offs, but could not secure Favre a return to the Super Bowl as they lost 31-28 in overtime to the New Orleans Saints, who went on to win the NFL crown. Favre had said his desire to win a second Super Bowl had kept him in the game, but despite coming so close with the Vikings, that dream could now be over. If Favre does indeed confirm his retirement, the timing makes it seem certain he will not un-retire for a third time, as teams are already beginning pre-season training and the first exhibition games are only a few weeks away.
Last summer, he took only six weeks after the end of the regular season to tell the New York Jets he was retiring for what was then the second time. The three-time NFL Most Valuable Player had also announced his retirement in March 2008 only to un-retire four months later, which led to a messy divorce from the Green Bay Packers - the team with which he had made his name - and a subsequent trade to the Jets.
However, Favre's penultimate season in a stellar 18-year career did not go as planned as he and the Jets staggered in the final weeks of the season. The three-time MVP threw two touchdown passes and nine of his league-high 22 interceptions as the Jets lost four of their last five games to squander a play-off spot. Although many feel the last two years have damaged his legacy to some degree, Favre remains a sure-fire Hall of Famer.