Brett Favre, the only NFL player to win the MVP award three times, will finish his career with the Green Bay Packers.
"I do want to be a Packer for life," Favre said Friday from his home in Kiln, Miss., after the 31-year-old quarterback and the team announced a lifetime extension of his contract via teleconference.
"I couldn't envision myself playing with another team," Favre said. "Don't want to. If that was to ever come up, I probably would just retire. I've made enough money to where I don't need to jump ship and go somewhere else. It was just important to me to stay here."
Favre said that when he grew up, "you could almost name every player at every position for years on the same team, and that was your team. Nowadays, it's hard to say that. And I really feel like the Packers, more so than any team have made it a point to keep their players in house."
Coach Mike Sherman said the pact — the first lifetime contract in club history — "not only ensures Brett will finish out his career here in Green Bay, but also ensures the organization that we have the services, the talent and the leadership of the very best quarterback in the National Football League in the years to come."
Deal Brokered for Salary Cap Reasons
The extension reportedly will be for 10 years, making Favre the NFL's first $100 million player. His contract would top the $90 million contract the Washington Redskins gave halfback Stephen Davis last year.
However, Favre's contract, which includes a $10 million signing bonus, is essentially a six-year deal for salary cap purposes.
Favre said he renegotiated not because he had fallen behind other players of lesser talent but instead to help the Packers surround him with a supporting cast to make another Super Bowl run.
"I've always said that I make great money and I meant that," Favre said. "This was just an opportunity to enable the Packers to have some cap room, solidify my future with the Packers and, if you want to say not worry about it again, that's another way to look at it."
The final few years of the contract include highly inflated salaries that Favre will never earn. He has said he doesn't see himself playing beyond 2006.
"Brett has been the signature player for this franchise, and one of the signature players for the entire NFL, and this contract reflects that status," team negotiator Andrew Brandt said.
Levens Takes Pay Cut
Favre holds the NFL record for consecutive starts by a quarterback at 141 games. And that's despite thumb, elbow and ankle injuries the past two years.
He has the highest winning percentage (.645) among NFL quarterbacks with 50 or more regular-season starts, based on a 91-50 career record, and his 255 TD passes are the most by a quarterback over the last nine seasons. He's also thrown for 3,000 or more yards nine straight seasons, tying Dan Marino's NFL mark.
Favre was honored as MVP in 1995, '96 and '97. He guided Green Bay to two Super Bowls, a victory over New England in 1997 and a loss to Denver in '98.
Before renegotiating his contract to allow the Packers to shave about $4 million off his 2001 salary cap number, Favre had three years and $21 million left on the seven-year, $47.25 million deal he signed in 1998.
His base salary was going to be $6.3 million next season and his salary cap number $9.474 million.
Favre's agent, Bus Cook, and Brandt completed the contract by Thursday's deadline, allowing the Packers to get below the 2001 salary cap of $67.4 million.
The Packers also managed to persuade center Frank Winters and halfback Dorsey Levens, two other key components to the team's resurgence in the 1990s, to take significant pay cuts this week.
Ron Wolf, who is retiring as Green Bay's general manager on June 1, found Favre on Atlanta's bench in 1991 and traded for him in 1992.
Wolf said he regrets not giving Favre a better supporting cast in recent years. Favre challenged that notion, saying the Packers were done in by injuries and skyrocketing salaries in free agency that stripped them of some of their Super Bowl contributors in the late 1990s.
He complimented Wolf on his work this offseason.
"I don't see why we can't get back to where we were," Favre said.