Brett Favre and his ankle are done with football. Probably.
Sources told several media outlets Tuesday that the Minnesota Vikings quarterback has decided not to return for another NFL season. But accounts of Favre’s retirement – which would be his third – might be setting records for bet-hedging and the use of the word “reportedly” in sports journalism.
After all, Favre has thrown fans and reporters for a loop before.
Favre retired as a member of the Green Bay Packers in 2008; five months later he was the starting quarterback for the New York Jets. The same scenario played out in fast-forward in 2009, when Favre made his tearful goodbyes, disappeared to his home state of Mississippi for 20 days, and then “unretired” to become a Viking.
He has been coy about his future this offseason, though pundits deemed a comeback likely when Favre elected to have surgery on his left ankle, which he injured during the playoffs in January and would need healthy if he were going to play again.
Fans of Minnesota will be hoping he changes his mind. No. 2 on the depth chart is Tarvaris Jackson – a player who has not yet shown the ability to parlay the Vikings' prodigious talent into Super Bowl-contender status (as Favre did).
And however much fans may claim to tire of the annual saga surrounding Favre’s career, Favre remains one of the few can’t-miss properties in the NFL – loved and hated but almost always avidly watched.
Ultimately, fans, reporters, and even Favre’s fellow players won’t know his true intentions until the season starts next month. As Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs told ESPN.com, “I won’t believe it until I see Tarvaris Jackson starting against us.”