Venerable QB Favre Hangs Up Cleats

Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre has decided to retire.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that according to Favre's agent, Buss Cook, Favre informed Packers coach Mike McCarthy of his decision Monday night.

Mortensen said in a phone message Favre left for him Tuesday morning, the longtime Packers starter said he felt worn down by the demands of the game, adding that he and his wife Deanna thought anything short of a Super Bowl title would be a disappointment and not worth the mental wear and tear.

A sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer, Favre, acquired in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons, led the Packers back to the NFL's elite. He retires with 5,377 carrer completions in 8,758 attempts for 61,655 yards, 442 touchdowns and 288 interceptions, passing Dan Marino's touchdown mark last season.

As a player Favre was known for his durability, his willingness to take risks and turn broken plays into big gains, as well as for the way his love for the game was evident in the way he played. He went to a pair of Super Bowls in 1996 and 1997, winning it all on his first try in Super Bowl XXXI, and was named to nine Pro Bowls. Cook said as of Tuesday morning, there were no plans for Favre to hold a news conference.

Favre, who returned for the 2007 season when many thought he should have left the game, had a career renaissance in his final season and led the Packers to the NFC Championship Game, where they lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants in overtime.

Favre passed Marino for the all-time completions record in 2006, and in 2007 set NFL records for wins by a QB, touchdown passes, pass attempts, pass yards and interceptions in 2007. He claimed the NFL record for career quarterback wins with his 149th victory in Week 2, passed Marino for the TD record in Week 4 and overtook Marino's career passing yards record in Week 15.

Mortensen reported that Favre, who wanted the Packers to obtain Randy Moss when he was a free agent last season, had once again pushed for Moss to join the Packers. Favre had spoken to Moss late last week and was willing to commit to more than just this season if Moss and the Packers could come to an agreement. But the Packers did not pursue Moss, who re-signed with the Patriots on Monday.

In his voice mail message to Mortensen, Favre said the Packers' lack of pursuit of Moss was not the driving reason why he retired.

Surrounded by an underrated group of wide receivers who proved hard to tackle after the catch, Favre had a career-high completion percentage of 66.5 in 2007. He threw for 4,155 yards, 28 touchdowns and only 15 interceptions.

It was a remarkable turnaround from 2005, Favre's final season under former head coach Mike Sherman, when he threw a career-worst 29 interceptions as the Packers went 4-12.

Given Favre's career resurgence, it was widely assumed that he was leaning toward returning for the 2008 season.

He even said as much just before the Packers' Jan. 12 divisional playoff game against Seattle, telling his hometown newspaper that he wasn't approaching the game as if it would be his last and was more optimistic than in years past about returning.

"For the first time in three years, I haven't thought this could be my last game," Favre told the Biloxi [Miss.] Sun Herald. "I would like to continue longer."

ESPN NFL reporter Chris Mortensen and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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