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Favre decides to stay retired rather than play for Vikings

MINNEAPOLIS -- Brett Favre has handed the Minnesota Vikings one more loss.

The 39-year-old quarterback told coach Brad Childress on Tuesday that he won't come out of retirement to play for the Vikings.

Favre's decision, which was first reported by the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, is a stunner for the Vikings after they openly courted the quarterback all summer. 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 season's NFC North championship squad.

"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 prepared statement released by the team. "That does not detract from the team that we have."

Last year, Favre tearfully retired from the Green Bay Packers after 17 seasons in the NFL and three MVP awards -- then made an about-face and was traded to the New York Jets. He retired again after the 2008 season, had surgery in May to alleviate a torn biceps tendon and then flirted with the idea of coming back with the Vikings, the Packers' NFC North rivals.

"When I heard the news, I was probably as surprised and shocked as everybody else," Vikings linebacker Ben Leber told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "The writing on the wall was as long as his arm was healthy, he was going to play. I thought it was just a contractual deal that was taking so long, and I really expected him to be at camp."

Favre turns 40 in October and didn't believe he had enough left to get through a full season, according to Childress, who now must do some damage control with Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels. The two veterans were expected to compete for the Vikings' starting quarterback job before the latest Favre drama began.

Jackson and Rosenfels were peppered with questions about Favre during the team's minicamps this summer and are suddenly back in the mix.

Jackson's agent, Joel Segal, said he spoke to his client shortly after the news about Favre's decision broke.

"He was his usual cool, calm and collected self," Segal said of Jackson. "He said, 'Great, let's get ready for camp.'"

Favre holds almost every NFL career passing record that matters, including completions (5,720), yards (65,127), touchdowns (464) and interceptions (310). Many believed Favre could help the Vikings land that elusive Super Bowl championship, even if he was reviled by fans in Minnesota during his incredible run across the state line in Wisconsin.

Favre instead passed on a chance for revenge on general manager Ted Thompson and the Packers, whom he believed gave up on him too soon when deciding to move forward last summer with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Favre instead was sent to New York, where arm problems contributed to a 1-4 finish that kept the Jets out of the playoffs.

Childress said Favre's decision not to play for the Vikings doesn't temper the team's high expectations.

"As we have consistently communicated, we feel good about our team, and they have put forth a tremendous effort this offseason preparing for the season ahead," Childress said. "With this behind us, we look forward to getting to Mankato and getting training camp under way."

Of course, this is Favre, which means there's always the chance that he will change his mind. Former Packers teammate Matt Hasselbeck, now the Seattle Seahawks' starting quarterback, tweeted that "Brett has always been predictably unpredictable."

As far as Leber is concerned, however, the case is closed.

"In my mind, this should be the end of it," he said. "To be respectful of the players that are involved and the team as a whole, you have to put an end to this, and you can't let it linger on."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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