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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014

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In Sports

Brett Favre announces his retirement.

Transcript of Brett Favre's press conference


Here is the transcript from Brett Favre's retirement press conference today at Lambeau Field, with media questions in parantheses:

Brett Favre: Seems like just yesterday we were here. Well, I think we all know why I'm here. First of all, sorry I'm late. But I am officially retiring from the NFL and the Green Bay Packers, and as much as I've thought about what I would say, and how ... I promised I wouldn't get emotional ... it's never easy ... you know, it's funny, I've watched hundreds of players retire, and you wonder what that would be like ... you think you're prepared ... but I was telling Deanna on the way over here, God has blessed me with so many great things. Ability, wonderful family. And as I was flying up here today I thought about so many different things and how I wanted to say some of the things that I felt like I need to say, but he gave me an opportunity to use my abilities, and I seized that opportunity ... I thank him for that.

I'd like to thank the Packers, for giving me the opportunity as well. I hope that every penny ... I hope that every penny that they've spent on me, they know was money well-spent. It was never about the money or fame or records, and I hear people talk about your accomplishments and things ... It was never my accomplishments, it was our accomplishments, the teammates that I've played with, and I can name so many. It was never about me, it was about everybody else. It just so happens the position I played got most of the attention. But the Packers have been, ... it's been a great relationship, and I hope that this organization and the fans appreciate me as much as I appreciate them.

I can't leave without saying thanks to Ron Wolf and Mike Holmgren for giving me a chance when no one else would. I'd like to thank Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson, Bob Harlan, Tom Clements my recent quarterback coach, Darrell Bevell. Mike was my quarterback coach in '99. Andy Reid, Marty, ... Steve Mariucci, Mike Sherman, Ray Rhodes, Tom Rossley, and I could go through so many different names and players and seasons. It's been everything I thought it would be, and then some. And it's hard to leave. You think you're prepared for it. I know there's been comments and issues in the press lately about why I'm leaving, whether or not the Packers did enough, whether or not Ted and Mike tried to convince me to stay. None of those things have anything to do with me retiring, and that's from the heart.

I've given everything I possibly can give to this organization, to the game of football, and I don't think I've got anything left to give, and that's it. I know I can play, but I don't think I want to. And that's really what it comes down to. Fishing for different answers and what ifs and will he come back and things like that, what matters is it's been a great career for me, and it's over. As hard as that is for me to say, it's over. There's only one way for me to play the game, and that's 100 percent. Mike and I had that conversation the other night, and I will wonder if I made the wrong decision. I'm sure on Sundays, I will say I could be doing that, I should be doing that. I'm not going to sit here like other players maybe have said in the past that I won't miss it, because I will. But I just don't think I can give anything else, aside from the three hours on Sundays, and in football you can't do that. It's a total commitment, and up to this point I have been totally committed.

As I look back on my career, no regrets. No regrets, whatsoever. Sure, I would have liked to have won more games, would have liked to have gone to a Super Bowl this year, would have liked to have thrown less interceptions, more touchdowns, but no regrets. I played the game one way, the only way I knew how.

I can't leave without saying thank you to the fans. When I laughed and when my family laughed, they laughed. When I cried, they cried. When I cheered, they cheered. When I threw an interception, well, you know. But it was a perfect fit for me. Little ol' Southern Miss, southern boy from Hancock County who had big dreams, no different than any other kid, to play here, and there's no better place to play. I had a conversation with Ron Wolf yesterday, and we had that discussion. To be thought of as one of the best players to play in this league, and to be mentioned within an organization that has players like Reggie White and Bart Starr and Paul Hornung and Willie Davis and Willie Wood and Herb Adderley and Jim Taylor, Ray Nitschke, Vince Lombardi. To be mentioned with those people, ... I'm honored. Really ... I am honored. I hope everyone knows how special this is and I truly appreciate the opportunity, and as they say all good things must come ... come to an end.

But I look forward to whatever the future may hold for me. Deanna and our two girls, Brittany and Breleigh, I sincerely thank you Deanna and my family for being there and supporting me, going back and forth and switching schools and putting up with all those things. I know you probably have some questions, I'll try to answer them as best I can, but hopefully I addressed a lot of the issues and spoke from the heart.

(There are still many fans in denial about this. They think Brett is tired now, but after time passes, maybe he'll change his mind. It sounds like that won't happen, but can you address that?)

I think last year and the year before I was tired and it took awhile but I came back. Something told me this time not to come back. It took awhile once again. Once again, I wondered if it was the right decision. But I think in my situation, and I had this conversation with Mike and Ted, that it's a unique situation in that at 17 years I had one of the better years in my career, the team had a great year, everything seems to be going great, the team wants me back, I still can play, for the most part everyone would think I would be back, would want me back. That's a unique situation going into an 18th season. There's no guarantees next year, personally and as a team, and I'm well aware of that. It's a tough business and last year and the year before I questioned whether or not I should come back because I didn't play at a high enough level. Other people questioned that. I really didn't question my commitment. I just wondered, 'Could I not play anymore?' I know I can play. But this year, and this is not the first year but it really to me and Deanna was more noticeable, the stress part of it. It's demanding. It always has been, but I think as I've gotten older I'm much more aware of that. I'm much more aware of how hard it is to win in this league and to play at a high level. I'm not up to the challenge anymore. I can play, but I'm not up to the challenge. You can't just show up and play for three hours on Sunday. If you could, there'd be a lot more people doing it and they'd be doing it for a lot longer. I have way too much pride, I expect a lot out of myself, and if I cannot do those things 100 percent, then I can't play.

(From a mental standpoint, how much impact did that last play have on your thought process? How much did you think about it as you walked off the field?)

I didn't really think about it when I walked off the field. Would I have liked to have finished that game and season differently? Absolutely. But one play, one game, one season doesn't define me. As upset as I was at the end of that game, I really didn't think about my future at that particular time. I didn't know what I was going to do and know that I had to get away and think about it. And I've heard remarks from family and friends that you don't want to go out on a play like that. I hear that every year, regardless of the play: You've got to go out on top or you've got to go out this way or you've got to go out that way. I'm going out on top, believe me. I could care less what other people think. It's what I think and I'm going out on top. It's been a wonderful career and, once again, I have no regrets. As I think back about my career, and I've said this numerous times, the losses and the bad plays, the ups and downs, all to me were important. I would hate to think that we were perfect all the time. You would never appreciate how tough it is to get there. And through every loss and every bad play, it made the plays like the first play in the overtime game against Denver so much sweeter. As time passes, I don't know what I will do. I'm not really worried about it right now. I'll take it as it comes. Poeple say, 'Do you have a plan?' No, I don't. This is all I've ever done. I'm proud of the fact that I've done it this long and at a high level. This is a new phase in my life. I don't know what that exactly means, but it's been a pretty good ride.

(When you talk about the strain of the offseason commitment or the strain of living up to your high standards on Sundays and leading such a young team, did those weigh any differently?)

The off-season -- the minicamps, the training camp and just individually your off-season preparation -- has been difficult. As I looked at this upcoming season, I said, I probably could get myself prepared to play. That really didn't have that much of a bearing on my decision. It's tough on everybody. But it was more the in-season strain. And Mike knows this, there were numerous Saturdays (before) home games where I was here at 8:30 at night watching film. I had never done that before. It was never enough for me. And Deanna knows this, after numerous games I would come home and after a couple of hours I had the computer out and I was watching film of the upcoming opponent instead of enjoying the win we just had. At some point, you've got to relax and enjoy and I found myself not enjoying it as much. It's fun to win but you've got to enjoy it and relax a little bit. That more than anything was taking its toll on me.

(Some guys when they walk away can't get near the team they left. Do you see yourself being involved with this team in the upcoming year, or with Aaron Rodgers?)

I'm sure that we will talk. I'm sure Mike and I will talk. But they have coaches and because I've played 17 years and had a great career here doesn't make me an expert. The way I've done things has worked for me. It may not work for the next guy. The last thing I want to be is one of those guys who hangs around and, because of my status, they keep me around. They don't know how to tell me no. Will I be a Green Bay Packer for life? Sure. That doesn't mean I come in and give my opinions and things like that. I wish the Packers well. I wish Aaron well. I think he'll do a great job. I think he has the talent. I've heard it for the last three years that hopefully he's learned from Brett. What that means I don't know. He's his own player, he has his own style and that's what he needs to stick to. Hopefully, what he's learned from me are things away from playing, how to handle certain situations and be a teammate and things like that. I think here in the last couple of years, that's where I've noticed, in my case, things maybe changing a little bit. You can credit it to age or whatever, but I was never really a vocal person. That hasn't changed. I always enjoyed playing the game and having fun and cracking up and things like that and I didn't do that as much. I maybe was not as good a teammate from that standpoint as I once was. Not to get away from your questsion, but I think that had some bearing on my decision as well. I don't even want to think about next year. Will I watch games? I'm sure I will. Will I be involved? I always made the joke about being here for the honorary coin toss. Well, that time may come. So I may be back for something like that. But as far as giving advice, I don't think that will happen.

(You said you didn't have an exact plan. What are some things you're looking forward to doing?)

Nothing. Nothing. Ron Wolf asked me yesterday, 'What are you going to do?' I said, 'Nothing.' And I'm going to stick to that until I want to do something else.

(With so many accolades and honors, how do you want to be remembered?)

You know, I think we all want to be liked and we want good things said about us, positive things said about us. As I stated earlier, I hope people appreciate me, the way I played the game, as much as I appreciate them. The way I approached the game, the way I played it, to me all was important. The statistics part of it were never that important. They have been earlier in my career. I was never really a statistics guy, and that's coming from a guy that ran the wishbone and wing-T in high school and was signed as a safety in college. So statistics never were never a big part of my makeup and I think people know that. I'm well aware of the statistics, the records that I have right now. I think those were meant to be ... That's why they keep records, for those to be broken. I'm sure it makes for good TV when the next guy comes through. But I hope my legacy is a lot more than that. If I have to be remembered because of statistics then I did something wrong along the way. I really believe that I left a lot more than that. I can't make people like me or say good things about me but I hope that I left a pretty good impact on people. As I've heard, that the way he's played the game, with as much fun as he's had, is all important and I agree with that. It's a game and I played it spontaneously, nothing was ever choreographed. And I've always said this: the money they pay is icing on the cake. It had no bearing on the way I played. I played the game regardless a certain way. And I hope that's what people appreciate about me.

(Playing in 275 straight games and the pride you took in that, how hard was it to admit to yourself that commitment just wasn't there anymore?)

Well, yes and no. It's been 275 games, at some point it's got to end. I think there will be people, including myself, saying, 'Hey, you can still do it.' But I don't want to be one of those guys that you say, 'Well, he stuck around too long.' Who knows when that will be? Relatively healthy for the most part. There are little things here and there that bother me. The thing that I'm most impressed about in my career is the fact that I've played in all those games. Whether it be consecutive or not, the fact that I played in that many games is amazing. Might as well leave when I've still got my health for the most part. As far as a career goes, it's been wonderful. So it's been everything I thought it would be and then some. None of those statistics come without playing and there's nothing left to prove, there really isn't. There was nothing last year to prove. I've known that. I have a lot of pride but it wasn't that difficult. It's more important for me to play the game a certain way and be (in it) completely, than it is to admit to myself that maybe I don't have it anymore.

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