GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre will be back on the cover of Sports Illustrated with a commemorative special edition that hits the newsstands and book stores Monday.
The 84-page tribute will honor Favre following his retirement and tearful goodbye this week -- "I know I can play. But I don't think I want to," he said after 17 seasons in the NFL.
It will be the third time since December the magazine has featured the beloved quarterback.
The other two were in weekly editions that required extra printings because of their popularity. One named Favre the magazine's Sportsman of the Year, and the other featured him striking a passing pose during a snowy January playoff win against Seattle.
About 850,000 copies of the Favre special edition will be sold nationwide for $7.99.
"Brett Favre's accomplishments over his NFL career are unparalleled, but we will remember him most of all for his love of the game," SI group editor Terry McDonell said in a statement Friday. "Our special issue celebrates his greatest moments and commemorates a soaring career."
It will feature an essay by senior football writer Peter King, a photo essay by photographer John Biever, excerpts and photos chronicling each of Favre's seasons in Green Bay and a tribute from players and fans, the magazine said.
Favre has appeared on the SI cover eight times. The first was the Jan. 15, 1996, issue with the headline, "Bring on the Cowboys."
Karen Dmochowsky, a spokeswoman for the magazine in New York, said Friday she did not know yet how the magazine will deal with Favre's retirement in next week's regular edition. The retirement was announced Tuesday, too late for this week's magazine.
The exact number of copies of the Favre special edition to be shipped to Wisconsin was not available Friday, Dmochowsky said.
Waldenbooks at Bay Park Square mall in Ashwaubenon expects to get "huge quantities" of the Favre edition but could not reveal exactly how many, store manager Kelly Czypinski said.
"We won't run out very quickly," she said. "We are bringing on extra staff to be able to get customers in and out quickly. I think it is going to be a collector's item. There is a lot of excitement."
Janke Book Store in Wausau had 400 names on a list Friday of people wanting to reserve at least one of the 2,000 copies of the Favre edition the store expected to get, co-owner Jim Janke said. "They are bigger than Beanie Babies. I say that as a joke but it's true."
The Favre Sportsman of the Year edition required SI to do a third printing for the first time ever. It eventually sold 164,000 extra copies. The Favre snowstorm edition had 115,000 extra copies printed.
Favre joked Thursday about the attention his accomplishments and retirement have received: "As I'm watching TV last night, I said, 'This is what it's like when you die."'
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press