But in digging back even further, we found this April 30, 2009 bit we wrote for Page 2. We wrote it right after Favre was released by the Jets. We were immediately convinced he was going to sign with the Vikings, but we also wanted to have a little bit of fun. So we did some exhaustive internet research concerning his past dalliances with retirement. We were stunned to learn it really went back to 2003. Here it is:
January 2003: Favre squashes retirement rumors by saying, "I have every intention of coming back."
January 2004: Packers teammates say they expect Favre to return despite interception in OT of a playoff loss. Favre does, indeed, return.
January 2005: After a playoff loss to the Vikings, Favre tells the Packers he needs time to ponder his future. In March, he commits to playing in 2005. In August, when asked for general thoughts on retirement, Favre says, "I'm in no hurry for that to come. I won't play anywhere else."
April 2006: Favre ends months of speculation by confirming he will return for another season.
February 2007: Favre announces he will play another season. "I am so excited about coming back," he says.
March 2008: After years of hemming and hawing, Favre retires in a tearful press conference. He says: "I am officially retiring from the NFL and the Green Bay Packers. ... It is on my terms. Which is a good way to go out."
Summer 2008: After deciding he still wants to play, Favre's relationship with Green Bay disintegrates. It's rumored Favre could wind up in Minnesota, but he is traded to the Jets. He says: "My interest at first ... was to stay within the division. (But) I'm here to help the Jets win."
February 2009: After an up-and-down, injury-filled year, Favre retires again. He says: "There are several things that went into the decision." The Jets place Favre on the reserve/retire list. ESPN.com reports that Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum said Favre did not ask to be released.
Late April, 2009: Favre is released by the Jets. Tannenbaum says in a statement: "Brett requested his release some time ago." Favre says: "Nothing has changed. At this time, I am retired and have no intention of returning to football." His agent reiterated the message.
Next? The Vikings tried to get Favre last year. They have no sure thing at quarterback. They are desperate to sell tickets. And, of course, there are those three little words that make all the difference with Favre: "At this time."
We all know where it went from there until now, and you can imagine where it goes from here.