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Green Bay's Favre says he'll be back

©Associated Press
January 7, 2003

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Hold off on the gold watch. Cancel the cake. Brett Favre isn't ready to call it a career.

"As I said during the season, I have every intention of coming back" in 2003, Favre said Monday in his first comments since the Packers were bounced from the playoffs Saturday against Atlanta.

"I don't see no reason why this team shouldn't compete for a Super Bowl next year. "And why shouldn't I be a part of it?"

The 33-year-old quarterback had fueled speculation about his future Saturday night when he did not speak to reporters after the Packers lost for the first time in 14 home playoff games.

Favre said he was in a bad mood after the 27-7 loss to the Falcons but really was just eager to get home to his family.

By Sunday, rumors of Favre's retirement were rampant.

Favre hinted last month that he might hang up his cleats if he won another Super Bowl like he did six years ago.

He narrowly missed out on an unprecedented fourth MVP award after guiding an injury-riddled team to a 12-4 record.

Despite a sprained knee at midseason, Favre extended his record of consecutive starts to 190, including 17 in the playoffs.

He said he still feels well, so it's not time to hit the links yet.

"Right now, I'm playing great. This team has a chance, and I'm having fun," Favre said.

He also put to rest speculation that he would seek some personnel changes such as the ouster of offensive coordinator Tom Rossley to play another year.

"The one thing I'm going to do is mind my own business," he said. "It would be easy for me in the position that I am, being the starting quarterback here for so long, being in the system with five different quarterback coaches and three different head coaches, to voice my opinion. But that serves no purpose."

When Favre's news conference was delayed an hour, offensive lineman Mike Flanagan joked: "Maybe he's writing his farewell speech."

"I think it's just something that, any time you get to 12 years like him, you start thinking about it. Shoot, I think about it, and I'm only seven years in," Flanagan said.

Peppers top D rookie

Not even a four-game suspension could stop Julius Peppers from winning the Associated Press' NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

The Panthers defensive end, the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, missed the last four games for violating the league's drug policy. He took a dietary supplement that contained a banned substance.

Before that, he had 12 sacks, second among rookies to Colts end Dwight Freeney, who played the entire season and had 13.

Peppers received 25 votes from a nationwide panel of sports writers and broadcasters. Freeney was next with 14.

"When I first came into this season, I felt that I had a chance to win this award if I played up to my potential and did what I knew I could do," Peppers said.

HALL OF FAME: Running back Marcus Allen and offensive tackle Gary Zimmerman are the only first-time candidates among the 15 finalists to be considered for induction Jan. 25. Among others nominated were quarterback Ken Stabler, receivers James Lofton and Art Monk, cornerback Lester Hayes, linebacker Harry Carson and offensive lineman Bob Kuechenberg.

CARDINALS: General manager Bob Ferguson and offensive coordinator Rich Olson were fired. Defensive backs coach Kevin Ramsey was not offered a contract.

COWBOYS: Bill Parcells hired Maurice Carthon as offensive coordinator and is keeping Mike Zimmer as defensive coordinator.

MAXWELL AWARDS: Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon won player of the year honors. Andy Reid of the Eagles was named coach of the year.

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