NFL ROUNDUP

Favre still having fun, says he'll return next season


Published: Tuesday, January 7, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 6, 2003 at 11:33 p.m.

GREEN BAY, Wis. - Hold off on the gold watch. Cancel the cake. Brett Favre isn't ready to call it a career just yet.

``As I said during the season, I have every intention of coming back'' in 2003, Favre said Monday in his first comments since the Packers were bounced from the playoffs.

``I don't see no reason why this team shouldn't compete for a Super Bowl next year. ``And why I shouldn't be a part of it?''

The 33-year-old star quarterback had fueled speculation about his future Saturday night when he did not speak to reporters after Atlanta handed the Packers their first loss in 14 home playoff games.

Favre said he was in a bad mood after the stunning 27-7 loss to the Falcons but really was just eager to get home and tuck his young daughters into bed before crawling into the sack to watch cartoons with his wife.

All the while, dumbfounded fans across Wisconsin were pondering the Packers' early exit and praying Favre wouldn't follow suit.

By Sunday, rumors of his retirement were rampant on talk shows and the Internet. Even Favre's father, Irvin, called to ask him what was going on.

When Favre's news conference was delayed an hour, offensive lineman Mike Flanagan joked: ``Maybe he's writing his farewell speech.''

``I think it's just something that, anytime you get to 12 years like him, you start thinking about it. Shoot, I think about it, and I'm only seven years in,'' Flanagan said. ``Everybody thinks about it because you know it's something that's going to happen.

Favre hinted last month that he might hang up his cleats if he were to win another Super Bowl like he did six years ago.

He narrowly missed out on an unprecedented fourth MVP award after guiding an injury-riddled lineup to a 12-4 record in the regular season.

Despite a sprained knee at midseason, Favre extended his NFL-record of consecutive starts at quarterback to 190, including 17 playoffs.

He said he still feels good, so it's not time to hit the links yet.

``Right now, I'm playing great. This team has a chance, and I'm having fun,'' Favre said.

  • MAXWELL AWARDS: Oakland Raiders All-Pro quarterback Rich Gannon won player of the year honors from the Maxwell Football Club on Monday, and Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles was coach of the year.

  • HALL OF FAME: Marcus Allen and Gary Zimmerman are the only first-time candidates among the 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Monday.

    The Class of 2003 will be announced Jan. 25, the day before the Super Bowl. At least four and no more than seven new members will be inducted.

    Other players nominated were quarterback Ken Stabler, wide receivers James Lofton and Art Monk, cornerback Lester Hayes, defensive ends Elvin Bethea and Claude Humphrey, linebackers Harry Carson and Randy Gradishar, and offensive linemen Joe DeLamielleure and Bob Kuechenberg.

    Former New York Giants general manager George Young and Buffalo Bills founder and owner Ralph Wilson are also finalists.

    Hank Stram, who coached the Kansas City Chiefs to the 1970 Super Bowl title, was nominated by the seniors committee.

    Allen ran for 12,243 yards - seventh on the career list - and had more than 5,000 yards receiving, playing for the Raiders and Chiefs. The Heisman Trophy winner was NFL Rookie of the Year and was the MVP of the 1984 Super Bowl.

    Zimmerman played in seven Pro Bowls while starring for the Vikings and Broncos from 1986-97.

    Bill Parcells was dropped from consideration for the hall after becoming the Dallas Cowboys' coach last week. Parcells, who won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants, automatically had been a finalist because he was in the top seven in last year's voting but didn't get enough support to be elected.

    But active players, coaches and administrators are ineligible.

    Stabler, Lofton, Monk, Carson, Hayes, Kuechenberg and Wilson have been finalists before. Bethea, DeLamielleure, Gradishar, Humphrey, Stram, and Young have been eligible in the past, but they never were finalists.

    The hall's 39-member board of selectors determined the 14 modern-era finalists from a preliminary group of 74 players, coaches and contributors.

    Of the 2003 finalists, Stram has been eligible 25 years, Humphrey 17 years, Bethea, Gradishar, and Kuechenberg 15 years, Stabler 14 years, DeLamielleure 13 years, Hayes 12, Carson 10, Lofton five, and Monk three.

    The class will be enshrined Aug. 3.

  • COWBOYS: Coach Bill Parcells made his first moves with his staff Monday, hiring Maurice Carthon as offensive coordinator and keeping Mike Zimmer as defensive coordinator.

    Carthon was on Parcells' staffs in New England and with the New York Jets. He also played for Parcells as a running back on the New York Giants' two Super Bowl winners.

    He replaces Bruce Coslet, who was with the Cowboys for just one season.

    Zimmer has been on Dallas' staff for nine seasons, the last three as defensive coordinator. The Cowboys had the NFL's 18th-ranked defense in 2002, a year after ranking fourth.

    Carthon spent the past two seasons with Detroit, last season as offensive coordinator after a year as running backs coach. Before that, Carthon was on Parcells' staff as assistant head coach and running backs coach for the Jets - 1997-00, the first three under Parcells - and running backs coach with New England in 1994-96.

    He played eight NFL seasons, ending his career in 1992 with Indianapolis after the first seven years with the Giants for Parcells.

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