Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, who played the game with a boyish joy and bulldog determination, filed his retirement papers with the NFL after a 20-season career, the league confirmed on Monday.
The 41-year-old Favre, one of the game's most decorated players, sat out the final game of the regular season with a concussion and said it would be his last.
It is the third time Favre has retired from the NFL, but after failing to make the playoffs in a season that included tendinitis in his right elbow, a broken ankle and split chin, the gray-haired grandfather said this time was for real.
I know it's time. And that's OK. It is, Favre said after the Vikings lost their final game of the season to the Detroit Lions on January 2. I hold no regrets, and I can't think of too many players off hand that can walk away and say that.
Favre threw 19 interceptions last season and was a shadow of the player who enjoyed so much success a year earlier when he led the Vikings to within one win of an appearance in the Super Bowl.
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His reputation took a hit when he was fined $50,000 by the NFL in December for not cooperating with an investigation into allegations he sent lewd messages to a female employee of the New York Jets when with the club in 2008.
Favre is a three time winner of the NFL's most valuable player award and holds most major records for a quarterback, including career touchdowns, passing yards and wins.
He won a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers in 1997 and was selected for the Pro Bowl on 11 occasions.