Is Favre ready to retire?

Published: Tuesday, January 2, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 2, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Brett Favre sure sounded like someone on the verge of retirement, getting choked up after the Green Bay Packers' victory in Chicago on Sunday night.

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The Associated Press

But the guy who would be first in line to replace the three-time MVP isn't convinced that's the case.

"I wouldn't read too much into that," Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said Monday.

While Favre might have been overcome with emotion immediately after the game, he was back to his jovial self by the time he got to the locker room, Rodgers said.

"He's an emotional guy, but there wasn't really any tears or (anything) in the locker room," Rodgers said. "A lot of laughs, actually, a lot of storytelling and stuff like we always do after the games. It was a good time. Everybody was on cloud nine."

And while Rodgers is preparing as if he'll be the starter next year, teammates are holding out hope Favre will talk himself into returning for what would be his 17th NFL season.

"You never know what he's going to do, but I'm hoping he can play until I'm done," said wide receiver Donald Driver, who attempted to carry Favre off the field when coach Mike McCarthy took him out of the game with less than two minutes remaining.

Favre posed for a photo with his offensive line after the 26-7 victory, then fought back tears in a post-game television interview.

"It's tough. It's tough," Favre said. "I'm going to miss these guys and miss the game. Just wanted to let them know that. I wasn't planning on doing this, either."

Favre was more composed when he met with reporters shortly afterward. Asked if he has made up his mind about retirement, Favre said he wasn't going to comment.

But if it was his last game, Favre said it was the perfect way to go out — eliminating any doubt, even in his own mind, whether he can still play.

"I've always felt like I could still play at a high level," Favre said. "I think today just kind of reassured me, as well as maybe other people, that I still can play. Now what that means, if I'm going to play, I'd like to play it at a high level. Today, I did."

Packers fullback William Henderson, Favre's teammate since 1995, professed surprise Monday when he was told the quarterback became emotional after the game.

"Did he? Well, when I saw Brett, he was yapping it up with the boys," Henderson said. "So Brett's a very strong man. And around the men in this locker room, he holds his head very high. He's poised, and he lets everybody feel — regardless of what's going on, turmoil or thoughts in his head — that the sun is out, the grass is greener, and we've got opportunities."

Packers tackle Mark Tauscher said it was a "weird feeling" taking a photo with Favre after the game.

"You were excited with the big win, and also, you don't really know what's going to happen," Tauscher said. "If it is his last game, it's a case where it would be a nice memento for us to have. But you know, we hope that that's not going to be the case."

But Tauscher said after three years of incorrect guesses, he has given up forecasting Favre's future.

"You just don't know," Tauscher said. "Last year, I would have bet that he wasn't coming back. So I don't know. Like I said earlier, I hope he comes back. But that's for him and his family. He's given this organization and this state a bunch of great memories. And if that was the way to go out, beating the rival in our division was a great way to finish."

Favre originally was scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery to remove bone spurs on his left ankle on Monday. But a Packers spokesman said Monday night the procedure had been postponed.

Rodgers also is recovering, trying to rehabilitate his broken left foot and lose some body fat in preparation for the Packers' quarterbacks school in the spring.

Rodgers, who had a tense relationship with Favre as a rookie in 2005, but now says the two have developed a "mutual respect," said Favre's decision doesn't make much difference when it comes to the way he's preparing for next year.

"It's going to be the same kind of preparation for me," Rodgers said. "I'm trying to get into the best shape as possible and just be at the body weight that I want, and the body fat (percentage), and just get ready to possibly play a bigger role next season."

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