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Favre acts his age, stays in retirement

Associated Press / July 29, 2009

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Brett Favre has handed the Minnesota Vikings one more loss.

The 39-year-old Favre called Vikings coach Brad Childress yesterday to tell the coach he won’t be coming out of retirement to play for Minnesota.

“It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made,’’ Favre told ESPN. “I didn’t feel like physically I could play at a level that was acceptable. I would like to thank everyone, including the Packers, Jets, and Vikings - but, most importantly, the fans.’’

The decision, which was first reported by the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, is a stunning blow for the Vikings after they openly courted Favre all summer. Adding Favre would have been viewed by many as the final piece for a team that already has star running back Adrian Peterson and a stingy veteran defense that returns nearly intact from last year’s NFC North title season.

“It was a rare and unique opportunity to consider adding not only a future Hall of Fame quarterback but one that is very familiar with our system and division,’’ Childress said in a statement. “That does not detract from the team that we have.’’

Last year, Favre tearfully retired from the Green Bay Packers after 17 seasons in the NFL and three MVP awards - then made an about-face and played for the New York Jets. He retired again, had surgery in May to alleviate a torn biceps tendon, and then flirted with the idea of coming back again with the Vikings, the Packers’ NFC North rival.

After two months of rehab, Favre told Childress he didn’t think he had enough in him to get through a full season.

Now Childress has some damage control to do with Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels, the two veterans who were expected to compete for the job before the Favre drama began.

Eagles’ Johnson dies
Jim Johnson, whose attacking defenses helped the Eagles to one Super Bowl appearance and five NFC title games, has died. He was 68. Obituary, B14.

Johnson had taken a leave of absence from the team in May as he continued to battle a cancerous tumor on his spine. The Eagles announced his death yesterday.

“This whole Eagles-Andy Reid regime here that’s taken place wouldn’t have been possible without Jim,’’ said Andy Reid, who hired Johnson to be his defensive coordinator shortly after he got his first head coaching job, with the Eagles in 1999.

A veteran of 22 years as an NFL assistant, Johnson was considered one of the top defensive minds in the league. During his 10-year tenure, the Eagles made the playoffs seven times and he produced 26 Pro Bowl selections.

Burress to testify
Former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress will testify before the grand jury investigating weapons charges against him, his lawyer said. Attorney Benjamin Brafman said Burress would testify today at 10.

Burress, 31, shot himself in the thigh at a Manhattan nightclub early on the morning of Nov. 29. He was accompanied by teammate Antonio Pierce, who still could be charged in the case.

Burress was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and faces up to 3 1/2 years in prison. Burress has pleaded not guilty and is free on $100,000 bail. The Giants released Burress in April.

Browns’ Edwards sidelined
The Cleveland Browns have placed wide receiver Braylon Edwards on the non-football injury list. Edwards is the only established receiver on the roster, and he was mostly a spectator during the team’s three-day camp in June because of an undisclosed injury. Meanwhile, the Browns came to terms with receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, the 50th overall selection in the draft . . . The Cincinnati Bengals have signed third-round pick Chase Coffman, a 6-foot-6-inch, 257-pounder who is the career NCAA tight end receptions leader with 247.

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