Yogi said it's not over till it's over. Brett says it's over.
Brett Favre, despite questions from Jets reporters on a conference call this evening probing whether he might think about coming back again late this off-season as he did last year when he was traded from the Packers to the Jets, said he is retired.
"I have no reason to wonder why you would be so skeptical," Favre joked with one reporter. "I have family and friends who'll say, 'All right, Brett, is this the real deal?' It is, believe me. It's been a wonderful career. I couldn't ask for anything more. It was worth a shot for me to go to New York. I wish I could've played better down the stretch. I didn't. It's time to leave."
Favre, who tonight was officially placed on the Jets' Reserve/Retired list, gave the reason for his retirement announcement this morning as the state of his right shoulder, which suffered a torn biceps tendon sometime during their recently concluded 9-7 season.
"Physically for the most part I feel the same, aside from the most important thing, and that's my throwing shoulder," he said. "It progressively got worse throughout the year. Other than that, I can't complain. I'm very thankful and blessed. I've played so much for so long. I guess it was just a matter of time before something broke down. For a quarterback, the most important thing is his throwing shoulder.
"It was something I was able to play with but I don't think I was nearly as productive as the season progressed. It very well could be fine next year, I'm well aware of that. But then again, it could linger and bother me throughout the year. I just felt like it was time, that more than anything it was a wakeup call."
Favre was asked if there was a specific hit or just NFL old age that led to his injury. He said he may have felt the first twinges in back when he resumed throwing again this summer before the trade.
"I don't think it was a specific hit," he recalled. "I did the exact same thing to my left shoulder five or six years ago. ... The same symptoms started happening in my right shoulder probably when I started throwing back in the summer, ever so slight and not very often. I just wrote it off to old age or whatever.
"With each week, just the wear and tear, it would tear just a little bit. I wouldn't feel it tear, but I just got a little more fatigued. I threw most every day in practice. When I would throw, I didn't have the velocity all the time or I started noticing that more passes were wobbly or whatever. So I think I started kind of altering my throwing motion."
He said he iced his shoulder in-season "every so often, which was very rare." He took a cortisone shot after Game 13 after the 24-14 loss at San Francisco, but he felt better for the Buffalo comeback win. Then at Seattle, he said he threw several seam routes, most for Jerricho Cotchery, and all were underthrown.
"That was probably the only time I really had doubts, after that game," he said. "There were some throws, whether or not we could've caught them, I don't know, but I could've made better throws. That to me was an eye-opener."
Despite his physical condition, he said Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum and owner Woody Johnson told him repeatedly they wanted him to return for 2009 but not once pressured him to make a quick decision on his future.
"I talked with Woody today for the first time since the last game and I talked to Mike numerous times," he said. "Throughout our conversations, he reiterated they'd like to have me back. And Mike, based on what's happened in the past, did not want to be pushy one way or the other.
"But believe me, I got the sense from day one that I was welcome back and I truly appreciate that," he continued. "Even though they didn't ask for an answer, I just felt it was fair for them to pursue what they're going to do."
Favre stressed that he enjoyed his time with the Jets, praised the wide receivers and tight ends — "the sky's the limit for those guys, I really believe that" — and felt the three other quarterbacks behind him, Kellen Clemens, Brett Ratliff and Erik Ainge, showed positive attributes.
The now graybearded No. 4 shot down a report that Bus Cook, his longtime agent, had asked for Favre's release rather than to be placed on Reserve/Retired.
"No," he said. "It doesn't matter one way or the other. It all comes down to physically how I feel. ... That could change based on arthroscopic surgery, but I'm not willing to do that and I'm not willing to take that chance. No, we didn't ask for a release, no."