GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) – Brett Favre is back.
And so, it seems, are the questions about his future beyond this season.
Despite comments earlier in the offseason that there was “no doubt” his potential return to the Green Bay Packers would be for only one more season, Favre said Saturday that he wasn’t so sure.
“I know I said that,” Favre said Saturday, in his first public comments since telling the Packers he would return for another year. “But I hope you guys will respect me. I’m going to play this year, give it my best and not talk about it.”
Favre said the constant speculation surrounding his football future – much of which has been propelled by his own public comments on the subject – has become a distraction for the team.
“It’s been a distraction not only for me but for I think the guys I played with in the past, and I’m not going to talk about it this year,” he said.
In a half-hour session with reporters, Favre admitted he doesn’t know whether his decision to return was the right one. But Favre said he also would have questions if he had decided to retire.
Favre knows athletes nearing the end of their careers can risk their legacies by playing on despite retirement being a viable option. Others choose to quit when they could have played effectively for a few more years.
“Where do I fall in? I don’t know, and don’t care,” he said. “The Packers still want me, I want to be back.”
Favre threw a career-worst 29 interceptions last season and the Packers went 4-12, the team’s first losing season since he became its quarterback.
“I’m going to take chances,” he said. “And there’s going to be people who agree with that and there’s going to be people who don’t agree with it. And I really don’t care.”
Favre doesn’t plan to change his style of play at this stage of his career.
“My desire and my commitment is why I’m here,” he said. “Not my footwork, not my mechanics, not arm strength or decision making. It’s my desire to win. I want to win more than anyone else. I’m willing to do whatever it takes, and sometimes it’s not pretty.”
New Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he wants Favre to keep playing aggressively, but only when the time is right.
“It’s important for him to play within the realm of the offense, which I think he always has,’ McCarthy said. “And I’ve said it over and over again, when you’re calling plays, the play caller and the quarterback have got to be on the same page. You’ve got to know when to push the envelope, when to pull back.”
Favre said many of last year’s interceptions came when the Packers were trailing in games and, because of mounting injuries, Favre was playing with young players with whom he wasn’t familiar.
“Maybe I should have made some different decisions at times, but we had to try to win the ballgame with whoever was in there,” Favre said.
Interceptions aside, Favre’s return is a boost for his teammates. Had he not come back, the team likely would have started last year’s first-round draft pick, Aaron Rodgers, at quarterback.
“I don’t have to ever worry about anything, because I know when the time comes, I’m going to be that guy that’s going to be getting the ball,” receiver Donald Driver said. “I would have had worries if he wasn’t here. You never know how the system works then.”
Favre may have hastened the departure of disgruntled receiver Javon Walker when he publicly criticizing Walker’s threats to hold out for a new contract last year. Walker was traded on draft day.
“We could sure use him,” Favre said of Walker. “Any team could use him. But I don’t regret the things I said. And I stand by that.”
Favre reiterated several times on Saturday that he never considered asking to be traded to another team in the offseason.
“I know there was a lot of talk about being traded or wanting to play for another team,” Favre said.
“That never, I’ve told you guys that over and over again that I didn’t want to play for another team, and that’s the truth. And never once did I mention (a) trade. This is where I wanted to be the whole time.”
But does he still want the ball with 2 minutes left and the game on the line?
“I’m here,” Favre said Saturday. “I didn’t pull too many out last year, but I gave it my damnedest, and that’s all I can do this year. But if I didn’t want the ball, believe me, I wouldn’t be here.”
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) – Brett Favre is back.