Quarterback Brett Favre apparently opted for his annual retirement Tuesday, raising questions about whether the quarterback will return to the Minnesota Vikings for a second season with the team and a 20th season in the NFL.
Favre informed some members of the Vikings organization that he intends to retire, an NFL source said, confirming multiple reports that he planned to walk away from the sport rather than return for a possible Super Bowl run.
But there was no immediate confirmation by Favre or the Vikings that Favre would retire. The news was followed by a degree of skepticism around the league because Favre, who turns 41 in October, is coming off a superb season and has reversed two previous decisions to end his career.
The Vikings left open the possibility of Favre returning to play. Coach Brad Childress said during a news conference at the team's training camp in Mankato, Minn., that Favre had not made a definitive statement to him about retiring.
"I'm not a big hearsay person... I've got to hear it from the horse's mouth," Childress said.
Neither Favre nor his agent, Bus Cook, was available to comment.
The Vikings are scheduled to face the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome Sept. 9 in the NFL's season-opening game. It is a rematch of last season's NFC title game, won by the Saints in overtime after Favre threw a costly interception late in regulation.
Others around the league were taking a wait-and-see approach to Favre's status.
"I plead the fifth on everything," Vikings 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."
Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, who faced Favre in a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos, said at his team's training camp in Ashburn, Va.: "I've got to see it before I'll believe it."
Childress called the situation "very fluid" and declined to say whether the Vikings would be willing to wait until after the season-opening game to determine whether Favre would play.
"Those are all kind of if-then hypotheses," Childress said.
If Favre does retire, the Vikings would be left with Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels starting at quarterback.
Favre played 16 seasons for the Packers before tearfully announcing his retirement in a nationally televised news conference following the 2007 season. Favre later changed his mind and decided to continue playing. But the Packers had decided to move on with Aaron Rodgers as their quarterback, and a training-camp standoff ended with Favre being traded to the Jets.
Favre played one season for the Jets. He was plagued by an ailing shoulder and announced his retirement in a conference call with reporters, but again changed his mind and reported to training camp with the Vikings last summer.
Favre signed a two-year, $25 million contract with the Vikings before last season. The deal would pay him $13 million this season if he plays.
Favre underwent ankle surgery in May in Florida.
Favre threw for 4,202 yards and 33 touchdowns for the Vikings last season, with only seven interceptions.
Favre has won three league MVP awards and has been selected to 11 Pro Bowls, and is the league's career leader in passing attempts, completions, passing yards, touchdown passes, interceptions and wins by a starting quarterback.
He has passed for 69,329 yards and 497 touchdowns, with 317 interceptions, in 19 NFL seasons for the Atlanta Falcons, Packers, Jets and Vikings.
Favre has started a record 285 consecutive regular season games and 309 straight games including the playoffs.