Packers' Favre to return for his 17th season

By CHRIS JENKINS, AP Sports Writer
February 2, 2007

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Brett Favre will return for his 17th NFL season, undeterred by his injuries and hoping to lead the Green Bay Packers back to the playoffs.

"I am so excited about coming back," the 37-year-old quarterback said Friday on the Web site of the Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss. "We have a good nucleus of young players. We were 8-8 last year, and that's encouraging."

Packers general manager Ted Thompson confirmed Favre had told the team he plans to return.

"The Packers are excited by his decision and look forward to a successful 2007 campaign," Thompson said in a statement.

The team scheduled an afternoon news conference.

"My offensive line looks good, the defense played good down the stretch," Favre told the Biloxi newspaper. "I'm excited about playing for a talented young football team."

Packers chairman and CEO Bob Harlan said he already is receiving faxes from "delighted" Packers fans around the country.

"I think this helps our fans a great deal," Harlan said. "They could see the direction the team was going in last year, and with Brett coming back it's even better."

Harlan said that just like last year, he suspected Favre would return because he still can play at a high level.

"I really did," Harlan said. "And people said, 'Why?' And I said he's just such a competitor."

Messages left with Favre's agent, Bus Cook, were not immediately returned. Packers coach Mike McCarthy was on vacation and would not be available for comment, the team said.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the news was great for the league.

"He's obviously been an incredible performer for the NFL," said Goodell, in Miami for Sunday's Super Bowl.

Favre last left the field in an emotional scene in Chicago after leading the Packers to a victory to finish the season 8-8.

He has started 257 consecutive games including the playoffs, an NFL record for quarterbacks. Favre broke Dan Marino's record for career completions (4,967) in 2006 and is closing in on Marino's marks for career touchdown passes (420) and yards passing (61,361). Favre has 414 career touchdown passes and 57,500 yards passing.

As he has done in the past several offseasons, Favre returned to his home in Mississippi after the season to deliberate about his future. Last year, Favre waited until late April to tell the team he was returning.

Favre complained about nagging injuries and the drudgery of practice toward the end of last season, then choked back tears as he talked about missing the game and missing his teammates in a television interview immediately after the regular-season finale in Chicago -- leading many to believe he intended to retire.

Apparently, he couldn't resist one more chance to try to lead the Packers back to the playoffs after the Packers won their final four games and were in playoff contention until the final weekend of the regular season.

Favre has led the Packers to 10 postseason appearances, six division titles, three NFC Championship games, two Super Bowls and one championship following the 1996 season.

Favre was acquired in a trade by former Packers general manager Ron Wolf after one season as a backup in Atlanta in 1991. He completed his first NFL pass -- to himself -- on Sept. 13, 1992, catching a deflection and losing seven yards.

The following week, he replaced injured starter Don Majkowski in the third quarter and led the Packers to a come-from-behind 24-23 victory over Cincinnati.

Favre started in place of Majkowski on Sept. 27, 1992, beginning the streak he often has called his biggest personal accomplishment. The 237-game regular-season streak is nearly six seasons ahead of the Colts' Peyton Manning at 144.

Favre's accomplishments include winning three league MVP awards -- he shared 1997 honors with Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders -- and throwing two touchdown passes in a 35-21 victory over the New England Patriots in the 1997 Super Bowl to give the Packers their first championship in 29 years. Earlier in that championship season, Favre spent time in the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kan., battling an addiction to painkillers.

Favre led the Packers back to the Super Bowl the following season, but they lost to John Elway's Denver Broncos 31-24.

AP Football Writer Dave Goldberg in Miami and Sports Writer Colin Fly in Milwaukee contributed to this report.

Updated on Friday, Feb 2, 2007 3:31 pm EST
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