The 39-year-old Favre called Vikings coach Brad Childress on Tuesday to tell the coach he won’t be coming out of retirement to play for Minnesota.
“I just got off the phone with Brad, and Brett said he’s staying retired,” Vikings defensive end Jared Allen told FOXSports.com Tuesday. “He said he couldn’t deal with the daily grind. He said he felt like he let us down before it got started.
“You know what, we were never really sure he was coming anyway, so we’ve always backed up Tarvaris (Jackson) and Sage (Rosenfels). We feel we can win with the guys we have here. I’m glad it’s over.”
The decision, which was first reported by the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, is a stunner for the Vikings after they openly courted Favre all summer.
“It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made,” Favre told ESPN. “I didn’t feel like physically I could play at a level that was acceptable. I would like to thank everyone, including the Packers, Jets and Vikings — but, most importantly, the fans.”
Adding Favre would have been viewed by many as the final piece for a team that already has star running back Adrian Peterson and a stingy veteran defense that returns nearly intact from last year’s NFC North title season.
“It was a rare and unique opportunity to consider adding not only a future Hall of Fame quarterback but one that is very familiar with our system and division,” Childress said in a statement. “That does not detract from the team that we have. … We feel good about our team and they have put forth a tremendous effort this offseason preparing for the season ahead.”
Several players had grown tired of waiting for Favre’s decision, especially as there were signs last week that Favre was having second thoughts of coming out of retirement.
It will be interesting to see the locker room dynamic, considering that the team rolled out the red carpet for Favre, despite having two other QBs. Jackson and Rosenfels both have inconsistent résumés, leading many to say the Vikings are a quarterback away from being a legitimate contender in the wide-open NFC.
Jackson’s agent, Joel Segal, said he spoke to his client shortly after the news broke.
“He was his usual cool, calm and collected self,” Segal said. “He said, ‘Great, let’s get ready for camp.'”
Favre holds almost every NFL career passing record that matters, including touchdown passes (464), completions (5,720), yards passing (65,127), regular-season victories (169) and interceptions (310). Many thought he could help the Vikings land that elusive Super Bowl championship, even if he was reviled by fans here during his incredible run across the state line in Wisconsin.
Favre instead passed on a chance for revenge on GM Ted Thompson and the Packers, whom he felt gave up on him too soon when deciding to move forward last summer with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He was sent instead to the Jets, where arm problems contributed to a 1-4 finish that kept them out of the playoffs.
Favre spent 16 seasons with the Green Bay Packers, then retired after the 2007 season. He soon expressed interest in returning to the league and was widely reported to be focusing on playing for Minnesota before ultimately ending up with the Jets for the 2008 season.
After one season in New York, the Jets released Favre, opening the door to new speculation of a return with the Vikings.
But Favre had surgery in May to repair a torn biceps tendon and — at 39 years old — may have played his final game in the NFL.