Brett Favre went exclusively "On the Record" to address the circumstances of his retirement and his comeback rumors.
This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," July 14, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight, Brett Favre breaks his silence. For the first time, the Packer legend answers all the questions the world has been asking for weeks, and you will only see it here. Favre retired after last season as the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, but there have been reports that Brett wants to come back. Is Favre going to return, and will it be with Green Bay?
Earlier, Brett Favre went "On the Record."
VAN SUSTEREN: Why did you retire so early?
BRETT FAVRE, FORMER GREEN BAY PACKER QB: Well, I'm sure that a lot of people out there -- you know, of course, there's been a lot of things said. And this is the first time I've talked, but a lot -- one of the things that people, from what I understand, are saying is that Brett retired because the Packers or Ted Thompson (ph) didn't ask -- ask me back. That's totally untrue. They wanted an answer before free agency/draft.
And Mike McCarthy called every week. After about a two or three-week grace period after the season, Mike would call, Hey, how's things going, you know? Where are you at with your decision? Boy, Mike, I'm kind of burned out right now and just need some time. I said, Boy, it'd be nice if I could wait until training camp. Well, you know -- you know, we have a different direction we got to go in, you know? If you're not going to be here, we have to sign someone, which is find. I totally understand that. But I was not ready to totally commit.
And the bottom line -- I said that in my press conference. Regardless of what people think, the bottom line, March 3, when I got in front of the podium, did I want to play? Yes. One hundred percent? No. And I think people who have followed my career, people who know me closely, I won't play if I'm not 100 percent committed. I could have easily said, You know what? I'll take the money, I'll come back, and hopefully, I'll get committed somewhere either before training camp, during training camp or during the season. No one will know. But that's not me.
And so on March 3, when I got in front of the podium, I was not -- and one of the things I said, Greta, was, I know I can play, but at this time, I don't think I want to, and sort of left the door open. But they wanted an answer. And am I mad at them for that? No. And I think that's what needs to be cleared up, is that, Hey, you wanted an answer, I gave you the honest answer at that time, as opposed to lying to you and saying, Oh, yes, I'll come back, and you know, giving you not what's expected of me, and that's 100 percent effort.
VAN SUSTEREN: After the early March press conference, when you made - - I know it was a very sort of -- it was an emotional time for you.
FAVRE: It was.
VAN SUSTEREN: I take it you like being a Packer.
FAVRE: Can't envision being with anyone else, or haven't envisioned being with anyone else. That has always been my focus. As I said then, I will say now, really, as I've said my whole career, playing in Green Bay is -- and you're from up there. There's nothing like it. There's nothing like it. And it has been -- it's one of those things. It was destiny. Kid from south Mississippi, a lot like Bart Starr, who would ever thought I would go to Green Bay and have the career I had.
And it's unfortunate that it has come to this. And I'm sure there are a lot of fans out there thinking, from what they've heard, that Brett is a traitor, he wants to play elsewhere. That's not true. I was told that playing in Green Bay was not an option, regardless what you hear from up there. You know, I'm not making it up. I was told that playing in Green Bay was not an option. And then I was told that, We can't imagine you playing or can't envision you playing with another team, as well. What does that tell me? It tells me, We don't want you playing, period.
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you signed any papers, at this point, saying you retired, any official papers?
FAVRE: No, I have not signed any official papers.
VAN SUSTEREN: And they know that there's back-and-forth, you're not 100 percent certain, and you've done -- you've actually -- you know, this has happened sort of prior years on a much more moderate scale, the question of whether you're going to retire or not, so it's no great surprise to them that you sometimes have second thoughts at this point.
FAVRE: No, it's not a surprise. And you know, I understand how the public is kind of, like, you know, Make up your mind already. But there's no way I can expect them to understand what I'm going through and...
VAN SUSTEREN: What are you going through, at this point?
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, to be totally honest with you, in to simplify it as easy as I can -- and I think if you were to poll players that have played as long as me or almost as long as me -- if you said, Come march, whether you're coming back or -- your intentions are to come back or you're wishy-washy or whatever, in March, are you committed one way or another? They're going to tell you no. They're going to tell you no.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did you talk to Coach McCarthy in June or text message him?
FAVRE: Talked to him on June 20. That was it.
VAN SUSTEREN: And said what? What was the conversation?
FAVRE: Well, we -- it was small talk for a while. And you know, I said, you know, Mike, I'm thinking about coming back. I've been working out at the high school. I said, And that was a big hurdle for me to get over. You know, don't want to get up and go up there and run and throw, which I did that this morning. And I feel good. You know, and I said, you know, I have to admit, you know, I'm thinking about it. And I said, I'm just -- I want your take on it. You know, and if I'm going to play, it's going to be in Green Bay, but I need to find out what their take is.
And he -- I could just see him. You know, he's -- he's, you know, Oh, Brett, you know, I mean, this is -- you know, We've moved on. And I said, Moved on? Yes, we moved on. You know, I had to tell the team something. You know, I mean -- you know, I mean, you were -- you were -- you told me you were not 100 percent committed, back, you know, not only when you retired but several weeks before -- I mean after, you know, when we were talking about coming down there. And we've had that conversation, and you said you were not 100 percent committed.
I said, You're right. You're absolutely right. And I said, But Mike -- and it was a good conversation, and we've always had good communication, the two of us. And I said, You're right. I totally agree. I was not 100 percent committed. And I said, But you guys wanted an answer in March, and I gave you the honest answer. And I said, you know, Had I been able to wait until training camp, that would have been great. He said, Well, why didn't you tell me that? We would have let you do it.
And I thought to myself, Well, you know, you told me before the draft, free agency. And he ended up drafting two kids in the draft. So that kind of tells you...
VAN SUSTEREN: Two quarterbacks.
FAVRE: Two quarterbacks. And once again, that's OK. That's fine. All I was asking in June -- June 20 was, OK, you guys have a different path, fine. What does that mean for me? And I -- so I say, So that means either you give me my helmet, welcome back, you release me or attempt to trade me. And we all know that that's a possibility, but you know, way out there possibility.
And he says, Well, you know -- you know, playing here is not an option, but we can't envision you playing with another team, you know, either. And I thought, So basically, I'm not playing for anyone if I choose to come back.
And I understand. You know, I'm guilty of one thing and that's retiring early. And I have an answer for that. And it's -- and I've spoke on that. And I knew that I would have second thoughts, and I think Mike has even made the comment that, you know, I knew Brett would go through this. I knew that he would have these second thoughts.
Well, I am. And so, I mean, you're telling me playing there is not an option. But playing elsewhere, we just can't -- you know, we're trying to protect your legacy. Well, thank you. I appreciate that. But apparently, now they're wanting to protect my legacy by bringing me back and having me be a backup. Boy, that -- that is really good.
VAN SUSTEREN: Are you physically ready to play football?
FAVRE: Yes. I've been pretty fortunate. Aside from 38, you know, I know during this whole ordeal, especially on the June 20 conversation, Mike and I talked about coming back, he's, like, You know, when I was in Kansas City, you know, we traded for Joe Montana, you know? And I mean, it just -- he wasn't the same, you know? And you got to worry about that.
And I don't disagree. I think Joe went there and played quite well. And believe me, I've thought of all those things. And when they have sent James Campen (ph) down here to, A, you know, You got to think about moving your family to another city, are you well aware of what that means and the fan reaction, there's going to be some people calling you a traitor. Yes. And you know, the bottom line in all this, I may not play anywhere. But we have thought of all those things. We have thought of it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Plus it's sort of interesting that management is worried about your moving, the Green Bay Packer management -- they're worried about you having a rough time, supposedly. Supposed -- I mean, that -- you know -- you...
FAVRE: I appreciate them thinking about me, yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: I take it you're a big boy and can handle this decision...
FAVRE: Well, I...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... That one.
FAVRE: Yes, I would hope so. And I -- you know, and I keep going back and talking with people. I am guilty of retiring early. And there is a reason for that. And you know, there's been -- the major issues is, Why did he retire? And he asked for a release because he doesn't want to play in Green Bay. That's not true. And I -- you know, and I hope that the people are hearing this think, OK, that clears it up, you know? And there's going to be some people that say, So what?
And once again, them moving on does not bother me. It doesn't. I totally understand that. That was the -- by me retiring March 3, I knew that that could possibly happen. All I was saying is, You know, I'm thinking about playing again. The itch has been used. That's been the word that has been used -- if you want to say itch, or you know, the fire is coming back or whatever. If I'm going to play, it's going to be a 100 percent commitment, and it's not going to be in March.
And so if you've moved on, you tell me one thing, don't come back and tell the public. Just say it. You know -- you know, We've moved on, and we'll work with Brett on whatever it is. Don't make up a lot of stuff or give half of the truth and say, We want to let you be our backup and all this, He's got to understand this and all -- so I mean -- I mean, it's ridiculous. It really is.
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, we have much more of our interview, and you will see Brett Favre, Part Two tomorrow night. And you'll want to see tomorrow night's part two because this story is developing. Even the fans back in Wisconsin are now holding rallies.
And in the meantime, we want to know what you think about Brett Favre's possible comeback. Here's what you need to do. Video yourself going "On the Record." Then go to ureport.foxnews.com and post your video there. You can also just e-mail video to firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure you label your video Brett Favre. And we're going to play your videos when we get them.
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