DETROIT – Brett Favre had finished saying goodbye and thank you one more time when he spotted Joe Webb standing in the back of the interview room.
Favre called for Webb to come up and then gave the rookie quarterback a hug as they passed each other."Hey, old-timer," Webb said, smiling.
Favre left the room then and headed into retirement No. 3. But is it really for good this time?
"I'm sure throughout this year the comment has been made that we'll wait and see in August or September," Favre said. "But it's time. I'm OK with it. It's never easy, in my opinion, it's never easy for any player. But people will, they'll say wait and see, but that's OK."
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Favre closed the book on his 20-year career - for now - in an unfamiliar place. Standing on the sideline.
A concussion forced him out of the Vikings' 20-13 season-ending loss to the Lions on Sunday at Ford Field.
Favre passed part of his concussion test on Saturday, but he felt it was too dangerous to try to play one final time. He admitted he was knocked out cold for the first time in his career on the sack against Chicago that caused his concussion two weeks ago.
"I would have liked to have played, (but) the wise choice was not to play," he said. "Just too risky in my opinion. Just as much as I would have liked to have played, just didn't think that it was (wise) - for any player, quite honestly - to play. I've played 300-plus games and one more game, had I gone out and gotten hit again and done further damage just ... so I had prepared for that and was OK with it."
Favre played in 302 regular-season games (326 counting playoffs) and finished his career with a long list of NFL passing records.His Hall of Fame career, however, ended in disappointment. He suffered a series of injuries this season, his performance declined sharply after a career season in 2009, and he endured embarrassing headlines over a sexting scandal and NFL investigation that resulted in a $50,000 fine for his lack of cooperation. Favre did not answer a question about the NFL punishment as he walked away from the interview podium.
"This year did not work out the way that we would have hoped, but that's football, and I don't regret coming back," he said. "I enjoyed my experience here. It goes without saying the fans have been absolutely wonderful and ... it's been a wonderful ride for me. One game, one season does not define me.
"(People) will be saying, 'Hey, it's a shame he went out that way' or this or that. I am truly grateful for the opportunity. By the grace of God, I got a chance to play this game and play it at a high level. I'm honored, and so I hope that people admired the way I played, my passion for it, because I hold no regrets. And I can sit here and thank over and over again so many people, but I'd be remiss if I didn't thank the Green Bay Packers, the fans. It's kind of tough to say that and thank Vikings fans at the same time. It was special, and so ... wonderful experience, wouldn't change it for anything."
Favre did not address his teammates collectively after the game. Instead, he talked to players and coaches individually as many of them stopped by his locker room for a final word.
"Every player, former player that I've talked to ... they'll tell you that's what you'll miss is the guys, the fellowship, bus rides, locker rooms, winning and losing together, celebrating together," he said. "If I sat here and told you I would not miss that, I'd be kidding myself. From a playing standpoint, there's nothing else left to do, and you can never get back that fellowship with the guys and that closeness with the guys. So those will always be great memories, not only with this year's team, but last year's team and all those years in Green Bay. We were able to win a Super Bowl in Green Bay and win a lot of games, played with some great teammates, and so I'm just honored that I got the chance to play and was able to play at a high level for a long time. It's truly a blessing."