MANKATO, Minn. — Brett Favre’s spectacular stint with the Minnesota Vikings might be over.
Favre has informed the Vikings he will not return to Minnesota for a second season, according to multiple reports.
Favre has sent text messages to teammates saying, “This is it,” league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said Favre texted his teammates and told them he plans to retire. Shiancoe added he did not receive any direct messages from Favre, but learned of the texts from several teammates.
Neither Favre nor the Vikings has confirmed the news, but a statement is expected later Tuesday, the sources said.
Vikings coach Brad Childress said Tuesday that he has talked to Favre in the past 24 hours, but was unaware of the reports of Favre’s apparent decision to retire.
“I’m not a big hearsay person,” Childress said. “I’ve got to hear it from the horse’s mouth.”
Childress told the NFL Network that the Vikings would be prepared if Favre didn’t return.
“The same plays are being installed whether [Favre] was here or the guys that are here are here,” Childress said.
After the Vikings completed a morning practice, Childress would not confirm Favre’s status with the team and called it a “fluid situation.” He told reporters that he had not heard from Favre directly about the decision, but said he could have a message waiting for him from the quarterback.
Vikings TE Visanthe Shiancoe discusses the mood at Minnesota’s training camp and what he’s heard about Brett Favre’s future. Shiancoe says losing Favre would be a blow to the team and that he expected the veteran QB to return for another season.
With Favre, of course, nothing is ever necessarily final after 19 NFL seasons. He told the Vikings last year he wouldn’t play, but changed his mind and joined them immediately after they broke training camp, with Childress even driving to the airport to pick him up. Camp this year ends on Aug. 12.
Owner Zygi Wilf, vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman and vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski spent nearly the entire two-hour morning practice in a huddle. All three were unavailable for comment afterward.
“It wouldn’t surprise me one way or the other whether he elects to play or whether he elects to retire,” Childress said. “I think all of us can live with it either way. The big thing is that he’s at peace with it.”
Favre and his agent, Bus Cook, did not return messages from The Associated Press.
A family source told the Biloxi Sun Herald on Tuesday that Favre “has not made a commitment to play or a decision to return at this point.”
Every Minnesota player asked about Favre after practice reacted with hesitation after three years of answering questions about Favre’s future.
“ I love Brett and he reserves the right to do what he wants to do. We obviously love him as a teammate. We’d like to have him back. But until it’s official, I’ll believe it when I see it.
” — Jared Allen
“I plead the fifth on everything,” defensive end Jared Allen said. “I love Brett and he reserves the right to do what he wants to do. We obviously love him as a teammate. We’d like to have him back. But until it’s official, I’ll believe it when I see it.”
Favre has waffled on retiring every summer since 2002. It led to an ugly parting with the Packers that got him traded from Green Bay to the Jets in 2008. After a so-so season in New York, he announced his retirement in early 2009 for the second time, then reconsidered and signed with the Vikings.
He had one of his best seasons last year, with career bests in completion percentage (68.4), quarterback rating (107.2) and fewest interceptions (7), while throwing for 33 TDs and 4,202 yards to lead the Vikings to an NFC North title. He hurt his left ankle in the NFC Championship Game loss to the New Orleans Saints and had arthroscopic surgery in May.
Favre was under contract for $13 million this season, but only if he plays.
“It’s always back and forth with Brett,” quarterback Tarvaris Jackson said. “It’s his decision. He deserves the opportunity to decide when he’s going to retire or not, whether he wants to retire or not. It’s up to him. Right now, I’m just trying to focus on getting better.”
If Favre doesn’t return, the Vikings’ starting quarterback job likely will be decided in a training camp battle between Jackson and Sage Rosenfels.
The 27-year-old Jackson, drafted in the second round of the 2006 draft, has a 77.9 quarterback rating and has 21 touchdowns and 18 interceptions, passing for 3,643 yards in 33 career games.
Favre Retiring Again?
If Brett Favre does retire, he will leave the NFL holding several passing records and three NFL MVP awards. The 11-time Pro Bowler also has 18 straight 3,000-yard seasons and 12 consecutive years of 20 or more TD passes.
The 32-year-old Rosenfels, acquired by the Vikings last year in a trade with the Houston Texans, has a career rating of 81.2. In 32 games, he has 30 touchdowns and 29 interceptions and has passed for 4,156 yards.
The Vikings also drafted quarterback Joe Webb in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL draft.
Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs said Tuesday that he wasn’t convinced that Favre was actually retiring.
“I won’t believe it until I see Tarvaris Jackson starting against us,” Briggs said.
Packers linebacker Nick Barnett said he didn’t know whether to believe the latest news.
“It’s like believing in Santa Claus. You get gifts, but you ain’t seen Santa Claus,” he said. “We’ll see what happens … If he does retire, congratulations. It’s a well-deserved retirement. But if he does come back, we’ll be gunning for him the same way.”
Nearly everyone had assumed Favre would return and he did nothing to discourage that. He threw passes for a second straight summer with high school students in Hattiesburg, Miss., joked about playing until he’s 50 and said playing another year wouldn’t worsen his already-damaged ankle.
Childress shrugged off all the questions and admitted he didn’t know whether Favre would really come back. The Vikings didn’t pursue a trade for Donovan McNabb and declined to select a quarterback of the future in the draft.
Still, Favre took a beating in the loss to the Saints and said afterward that he would not take long to make a decision on returning for the second year of his contract. As the months ticked by, Favre posted a statement on his website reminding everyone that his ankle problems didn’t mean his career was over.
If Favre decides to actually retire for good, it will end one of the most storied careers in NFL history.
A three-time league MVP (1995-97), Favre won Super Bowl XXXI with the Packers. His 11 Pro Bowl appearances are the most ever by a quarterback.
Indeed, Favre holds most major NFL records for a quarterback, including career touchdowns (497), yards passing (69,329); wins (181); and seasons with at least 3,000 yards passing (18).
Of course, he also has thrown the most interceptions (317) and been sacked 503 times — a long, long history of wear and tear.
Many of Favre’s sacks came on scrambles, and so did the picks as he fearlessly tried to force the ball — underhanded, left-handed, whatever worked — where few, if any, could put it. He brought a sense of danger to the game and Vikings fans responded in droves. He was a classic gunslinger and has never minded the label.
“I would hope 20, 30 years from now, I’m remembered for something else besides records,” Favre told the AP in 2007, when the annual summer waffling was still sort of new. “Whether I have them or don’t have them. If that’s the only way I’m remembered, apparently I didn’t do something right or leave a good enough impression on the fans. …
“I know when I leave the game, I’m going to miss it. I know that. I’m not going to sit here and say, when I leave, it’s over and I felt like I’ve done everything there is to do.
“I feel like I’ve given every ounce of energy I can give every single time I stepped on the field.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
CORTLAND, N.Y. — Strip away the outer layers of the Darrelle Revis contract dispute, the posturing from both sides and the complicated rules of the NFL’s uncapped year, and the core matter is this: The New York Jets believe Revis is the best cornerback in the league, but they don’t want to pay him the most.
Owner Woody Johnson acknowledged as much Monday, telling reporters “the main issue … is total compensation.” He said the two sides are “so far apart” that they haven’t begun serious negotiations on other particulars such as guaranteed money and length of contract.
Nevertheless, the Jets made two proposals last week, including a long-term offer that surpassed $100 million in maximum value, ESPNNewYork.com confirmed. How much of that was fully guaranteed isn’t known; that is a huge piece to the puzzle.
The other offer was a so-called “Band-Aid” contract, a short-term fix that included less than $5.3 million for 2010, sources said — the amount left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson will receive this year as part of his recent extension.
Revis, due to make $1 million in the fourth year of a six-year deal, flatly rejected both proposals, cementing his decision to become a holdout.
Revis wants to become the highest-paid cornerback in the league, a distinction that belongs to the Oakland Raiders’ Nnamdi Asomugha ($15.1 million per year). The Jets believe Asomugha’s contract is an aberration, out of line with the cornerback market.
Result: No Revis.
A few hours after the Jets conducted their first practice without their All Pro, who is being fined about $16,000 a day, Johnson claimed he’s not being restricted by cash-flow issues. That has become a hot issue because neither offer included a significant signing bonus, sources said.
“This is my 11th year and we’ve never had the inability to sign whoever we want to,” Johnson said. “We can sign the players we want to, but we have to do it in the context of what’s best for the organization.”
Johnson told ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio Monday the team will reach out to Revis’ agents within the next day or so to reopen the lines of communication and attempt to bridge the gap between the two sides, but the owner didn’t seem confident it could structure a deal that would make him the highest-paid cornerback. Johnson said Revis would have to compromise, claiming the team won’t discuss other issues such as guarantees until they get in the same ballpark on total compensation.
“When we get to a point where the two sides are closer together, we can get something done,” said Johnson, adding that he’s “optimistic.”
“I’m going to do whatever I can do get a deal done,” Johnson said.
According to the Revis camp, the main issue is the signing bonus. Because it’s an uncapped year, the Jets could satisfy Revis by writing a huge check. But they’re reluctant to pull the trigger, in part, because of the uncertain labor landscape, although Johnson claimed “we can negotiate in good faith” amid the current labor climate.
Johnson seemed surprised that Revis rejected the last two offers.
“Am I disappointed? Yes,” Johnson said. “I’d like everything to be clear sailing to the Super Bowl, we win that and — boom, boom — we’re done. But part of running a franchise is dealing with disappointment.”
Hoping to plug the hole in his top-ranked defense, coach Rex Ryan tweaked his lineup. He moved Antonio Cromartie to left cornerback, Revis’ spot — perhaps an indication the team is expecting a long holdout. On Sunday, Revis’ New York-based agent, Neil Schwartz, told ESPNNewYork.com that his client won’t report until he gets a new deal.
“I got comfortable with it today,” said Cromartie, who was acquired from San Diego during the offseason. “It only takes about a day or two to get used to it.”
Cromartie is looking forward to teaming with Revis — at some point.
“All I can say is best of luck to all the receivers we face,” he said. “We’re really going to be the best tandem in NFL history, hands down, that’s our goal.”
Dwight Lowery received most of the first-team reps at right corner, with No. 1 pick Kyle Wilson working in the nickel.
“We’ll adjust as we go along,” Lowery said. “I mean, only Darrelle can answer when he’s going to be here. If he’s not, we’ve just got to do what we need to do until he comes. It’s not like he’s going to be out all 17 weeks of the season.”
Ryan didn’t criticize Revis’ stance; just the opposite, actually.
“If he signs a contract one day before the first game,” Ryan said, “he’ll be in the starting lineup.”
But Ryan has to get the team ready with or without Revis.
“We’ve got to get who we have ready to go,” Ryan said. “If Darrelle’s not here, then we’re going to move on. We won’t make excuses. … We think we’ll have a great defense anyway, and I know we will. It’s just a lot easier if Revis is out there.”
League insiders believe Johnson’s reluctance to shell out a big bonus is holding up the deal, but Johnson passed the buck to general manager Mike Tannenbaum.
“If Mike came to me today and said, ‘I’ve got a deal that’s good for the New York Jets and good for Revis,’ we would do it,” said Johnson, adding that he trusts Tannenbaum’s judgment.
This has the makings of a long holdout. If Revis doesn’t report by Aug. 10, the 2010 season won’t count as an accrued year for him.
Revis’ absence wasn’t what Ryan blamed for a practice missing energy.
“I was expecting sparks to fly a little bit,” said Ryan, who wore Converse sneakers to practice as part of a yearly tradition for him.
He mentioned a distinct lack of communication between the defensive backs and linebackers.
“We had a lot of free runners in the back end which is never a good sign,” Ryan said.
He also revealed that team doctors advised LaDainian Tomlinson to miss the conditioning test due to a hamstring injury, but the running back wouldn’t have it.
“He made it,” Ryan said. “He’s in great shape. He looks super.”
Ryan said Jason Taylor’s shoulder isn’t bothering him.
Ryan saw some good things at the first practice. He started his press conference by congratulating himself on picking backup fullback John Conner in this year’s draft. The Kentucky product knocked the wind out of three linebackers his first practice, which made Ryan smile.
Ryan admitted that having the veteran Mark Brunell to mentor Mark Sanchez was a good move. He said he resisted the idea last season with Matt Cavanaugh on staff and reluctantly said he might not have had all the answers his first year as a head coach.
“He’s got a command of this offense like he never had last year, even in the playoffs,” Ryan said. “All that is, and you’ve got to tip your cap to him, the work ethic that he showed in the offseason and rehabbing himself.”
Like last season, Ryan knows that the brash talk might get him in trouble if the team doesn’t back it up during the regular season. That’s a risk he’ll take.
“Trust me I’ve been wrong a bunch, but I know one thing, we expect to win here,” Ryan said.
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from ESPNNewYork.com’s Jane McManus and The Associated Press was used in this report.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Ndamukong Suh has missed his third straight day of practice Monday with the Detroit Lions.
“We have six days in shoulder pads and we have six full-padded practices in training camp. And we’ve already finished two of those shoulder-pads practices,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. “Those are opportunities that, once they’re gone, they’re gone forever. You’re not getting them back. … That’s the disappointing thing from his standpoint. That’s work that you can’t get back there.”
Schwartz added: “His teammates want him out here. I’m sure he wants to be out there. But yeah, there comes a time when, particularly for linemen, where you need pads, where you need the work. We had two-a-days yesterday, we’ll have two-a-days today. It’s hard to replicate that in your own training.”
Suh is the former Nebraska defensive lineman who was the No. 2 pick overall in the NFL draft.
The Lions have had only one player, Calvin Johnson, miss more than a couple days since Bryan Westbrook was a long-term holdout in 1997. Westbrook’s agents were Roosevelt Barnes and Eugene Parker, both of whom are representing Suh.
“Both sides are working hard to get this resolved,” Barnes wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
Suh posted a message on his Twitter account Sunday that quoted a biblical passage: “Judge not by with appearances, but judge with the right judgment.”
Information from ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert and The Associated Press was used in this report.
|Here are the offseason 2010 power rankings. This is the training camp edition.|
|1 (1)||Colts||14-2-0||Their fate might depend on what others have done to narrow the gap. (Kuharsky)|
|2 (5)||Saints||13-3-0||The Saints should not expect another magical season because every team is different, but they still can contend for the Super Bowl. (Sando)|
|3 (3)||Vikings||12-4-0||Brett Favre is waiting for a two-hour TV special to announce his return. (Walker)|
|4 (4)||Cowboys||11-5-0||The Cowboys are loaded and will look to secure a Super Bowl “home game.” (Clayton)|
|5 (11)||Ravens||9-7-0||The defense-heavy Ravens finally believe they have a high-powered offense. Scary thought. (Walker)|
|6 (6)||Packers||11-5-0||Improved pass protection for QB Aaron Rodgers could go a long way. (Walker)|
|7 (12)||Jets||9-7-0||With 12 Pro Bowl position players, the Jets are loaded to challenge the Pats. (Clayton)|
|8 (15)||Falcons||9-7-0||The fortunes are looking up again now that RB Michael Turner is healthy and apparently in great condition. (Sando)|
|9 (10)||Patriots||10-6-0||Who keeps the Patriots ahead of every other AFC East team? Tom Brady. (Clayton)|
|10 (2)||Chargers||13-3-0||I’d like the Chargers a lot more with WR Vincent Jackson than without him. (Kuharsky)|
|11 (9)||Bengals||10-6-0||This is the deepest Bengals team of the Marvin Lewis era. But can it handle a first-place schedule? (Walker)|
|12 (19)||49ers||8-8-0||The defense is already strong, and the offense is finally in position to improve — if QB Alex Smith is ready. (Sando)|
|13 (21)||Dolphins||7-9-0||It’s up to QB Chad Henne to see whether he can compete against the big boys in the AFC East. (Clayton)|
|14 (14)||Texans||9-7-0||Pass defense might determine the Texans’ fate more than anything else. (Kuharsky)|
|15 (8)||Cardinals||10-6-0||Keep an eye on youngsters Beanie Wells (RB) and Early Doucet (WR) this season. Arizona needs them. (Sando)|
|16 (20)||Giants||8-8-0||Tom Coughlin must sort out the defensive problems to keep the Giants in contention. (Clayton)|
|17 (7)||Eagles||11-5-0||Even though the Eagles have tons of talent, their schedule pulls them down. (Clayton)|
|18 (16)||Titans||8-8-0||The Titans are going to be an offensive football team. (Kuharsky)|
|19 (13)||Steelers||9-7-0||The first four to six games without QB Ben Roethlisberger could make or break their season. (Walker)|
|20 (29)||Redskins||4-12-0||New QB Donovan McNabb should add a touchdown per game to the Redskins’ offense. (Clayton)|
|21 (22)||Bears||7-9-0||Do people realize QB Jay Cutler is just 24-29 as a starter? (Walker)|
|22 (18)||Panthers||8-8-0||Carolina has the NFL’s youngest roster and a head coach entering the final year of his deal. (Sando)|
|23 (17)||Broncos||8-8-0||I’m betting QB Tim Tebow scores a touchdown on opening day in Jacksonville. (Kuharsky)|
|24 (26)||Raiders||5-11-0||Did the Raiders build a pretty good defense? (Kuharsky)|
|25 (27)||Seahawks||5-11-0||Immediate expectations for QB Charlie Whitehurst subsided pretty quickly once Seattle hit the practice field. (Sando)|
|26 (23)||Jaguars||7-9-0||If only the Jaguars resided in the AFC West … or the NFC West.(Kuharsky)|
|27 (28)||Chiefs||4-12-0||The Chiefs are hoping safety Eric Berry will provide immediate help. K.C.’s defense ranked 30th in 2009. (Kuharsky)|
|28 (25)||Browns||5-11-0||The first year of the Mike Holmgren era could be rough. This team lacks talent across the board. (Walker)|
|29 (31)||Lions||2-14-0||After the 2009 season, the Lions have nowhere to go but up. So does their pass defense, which ranked 32nd last season and allowed 266 yards per game. (Walker)|
|30 (30)||Buccaneers||3-13-0||How well can a young head coach with a defensive background manage Josh Freeman, a franchise quarterback entering his first full season as an NFL starter? (Sando)|
|31 (24)||Bills||6-10-0||The only thing the Bills can look forward to is the 2011 draft and a new quarterback. (Clayton)|
|32 (32)||Rams||1-15-0||The big question heading into camp is whether rookie QB Sam Bradford can earn the starting job by Week 1. (Sando)|
|The rankings were determined by a poll of four voters on ESPN.com’s NFL staff: writers John Clayton (AFC East, NFC East), James Walker (AFC North, NFC North), Paul Kuharsky (AFC South, AFC West), and Mike Sando (NFC South, NFC West).