DETROIT (AP) — Brett Favre’s career apparently ends without him taking a snap.
The 41-year-old quarterback is sitting out Minnesota’s game at Detroit. The Vikings declared him inactive about 80 minutes before kickoff Sunday, concluding days of speculation over whether he could sufficiently recover from his Dec. 20 concussion. He also missed Minnesota’s previous game at Philadelphia.
Favre has come out of retirement before but has said repeatedly this season is his last. And this season — his 20th — has been a rough one.
About 40 minutes before kickoff, Favre came out of the tunnel wearing a purple knit hat, black warmup pants and a short-sleeved black shirt over a long-sleeved white one. It appeared to be the same outfit he wore the last time he was at Ford Field, when his record streak of starts ended Dec. 13.
Favre sat out that night’s Vikings-Giants game because of shoulder problems. That game was played in Detroit because the Metrodome roof collapsed. The Vikings are back in town Sunday to face the Lions.
After exchanging greetings along the Detroit sideline, Favre stood next to the Lions’ logo at midfield, about 10 yards from where Joe Webb, Minnesota’s starting quarterback, was warming up.
Favre had serious reservations about coming back after having surgery on his ankle last summer for the third time in his career. But three of his closest friends on the team — Steve Hutchinson, Ryan Longwell and Jared Allen — took a private plane to Hattiesburg, Miss., to persuade him to return.
Favre led Minnesota to the NFC championship game last year in what statistically might have been his best season, but his hopes for one more playoff run deteriorated quickly during a 3-7 start in 2010. Favre managed to stay in the lineup for a while, playing despite a broken foot and elbow tendinitis, but his streak of regular-season starts finally came to an end at 297.
At that point, it wasn’t clear if Favre could play again. He did manage to return the following week against the Bears, but he didn’t last long, leaving the game after being slammed down to the cold turf and staying motionless for a few seconds.
Favre has thrown for 11 touchdowns and 19 interceptions this season, and the Vikings could finish tied for last place in their division if they lose to Detroit. This week, the NFL ended an investigation of tawdry allegations against him, fining him $50,000, with a rebuke for not being candid.
The league said he failed to cooperate with investigators who were trying to determine if Favre sent inappropriate messages and photos to game-day hostess Jenn Sterger in 2008, when both worked for the New York Jets.
Assuming this is the end, Favre departs as the career leader in yards passing (71,838), touchdown passes (508), attempts (10,169), completions (6,300) and interceptions (336). He was drafted in 1991 by Atlanta but never completed a pass for the Falcons before moving on to Green Bay, where he spent 16 seasons and led the Packers to a Super Bowl win in 1997.
After the Packers grew weary of his indecisiveness about retirement, Favre played a season with the Jets and spent the last two with Minnesota.
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