DETROIT (AP) — Brett Favre lingered on the sideline during what was likely the last game of his 20-season career, often looking like he’d rather be lounging on a couch back home in Mississippi.
Now, he can.
The three-time MVP quarterback was inactive with a concussion, but walked onto the field briefly as his Minnesota Vikings teammates desperately tossed laterals to each other before running out of time and hope as the Detroit Lions won 20-13 Sunday.
When the game ended, the 41-year-old Favre jogged diagonally across the turf — waving once toward Detroit’s sideline — with the only burst of energy he showed all afternoon and went up a ramp toward the locker room.
So long, Brett.
“I would have liked to have played,” he said. “The wise choice was not to play. I was OK with it.”
Favre said he passed a post-concussion test a couple days before the game, but getting knocked out for what he said was 10 or 15 seconds two weeks ago when Chicago’s Corey Wootton slammed his helmet to the frozen turf seemed to scare him away from risking another head injury.
“It’s been a wonderful ride for me,” he said. “One game, one season does not define me. There will be people saying, ‘It’s a shame he went out that way.”‘
The Lions (6-10), meanwhile, closed the season with a four-game winning streak, and tripled last season’s win total. Shaun Hill threw for 258 yards and a touchdown, and Maurice Morris scored on a 4-yard run with 9:29 left to give the Lions a 10-point lead before the Vikings’ Ryan Longwell kicked a 48-yard field goal with 1:55 left.
“We wanted to be remembered for the way we finished this season,” second-year coach Jim Schwartz said. “We beat three teams that were in the playoff mix, two of them on the road.”
The Vikings (6-10) ended a lost season by putting Favre on the inactive list, and with rookie Joe Webb making his second start.
They opened the season with Super Bowl hopes, but week after week of team turmoil took its toll, especially on Favre.
He sustained a series of injuries and wound up sitting out three of the Vikings’ final four games. Adding to his misery, Favre was fined $50,000 on Tuesday for failing to cooperate with an NFL investigation into allegations of tawdry interactions with a game-day hostess when both worked for the New York Jets in 2008.
After his postgame news conference Sunday, Favre didn’t answer a reporter who asked for his reaction to NFL’s ruling.
The Vikings also fired Brad Childress during the tumultuous season, finishing with Leslie Frazier as interim coach, had a failed reunion with Randy Moss and two home game were moved because snow collapsed the Metrodome’s roof and a blizzard pushed another game to a Tuesday night.
Team owner Zygi Wilf wouldn’t discuss Frazier’s future with the team after the finale.
Frazier said he planned to talk with ownership Sunday night or Monday.
“Nothing has been solidified,” Frazier said.
Favre walked onto the Ford Field turf about 40 minutes before kickoff, looking much like he did Dec. 13 in the same stadium where his NFL-record, 297-game starting streak ended because of a banged-up right shoulder and numb right hand in a game against the New York Giants in the first of two relocated games.
He was wearing a purple knit hat, short-sleeved black shirt with a long-sleeved white shirt underneath and black warmup pants and was willing to talk to anyone who crossed his path. He later put on a baseball cap with a `4′ on it, but covered all of it other than the bill — perhaps to avoid another fine from the league for wearing gear it hadn’t approved.
During the game, Favre sometimes stood by himself and simply looked bored as a witness to a sport he played with so much joy and success since 1992 — his first season with Green Bay after being drafted by Atlanta.
Favre couldn’t wait to get off the sideline for the final time.
Down by a touchdown, the Vikings got the ball back with 10 seconds left and made several laterals in an attempt to score.
Favre, who inched onto the field and had to be nudged back to the sideline when time ran out but the final play was still ongoing, dashed for the exit in what wasn’t the way he wanted to go out.
He acknowledged some will doubt he’s truly done after coming back from two retirements earlier in his career, but insisted this is it.
“It’s time,” Favre said.
Notes: Detroit avoided finishing alone in last for the first time in three years and put Minnesota in a last-place tie for first time since 1990. … Lions Pro Bowl receiver Calvin Johnson was active, but didn’t play because of his injured right ankle. … Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson had 14 carries for 31 yards, falling 2 yards short of joining Earl Campbell as only players with at least 1,300 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns in their first four seasons. … Lions RB Jahvid Best set a team rookie with 58 receptions and Brandon Pettigrew broke a franchise record for tight ends with 71 catches.
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