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AP Story: Brett Favre To Return To Packers In 2005


Brett Favre is returning to the Green Bay Packers for the 2005 season.

Coach Mike Sherman told The AP on Thursday he had a two-hour conversation with his quarterback on Wednesday night. Favre informed him his wife, Deanna, is doing well in her cancer treatment, so he's planning to play at least one more season, maybe more if his own health holds up.

"It came down to his wife and she's doing well in her recovery," Sherman said. "She wants him to play. He said he's looking forward to playing -- hopefully without any off-the-field situations and 'enjoying the journey.'"

The three-time MVP said after the Packers' playoff loss to Minnesota in January he wanted to reflect before committing to playing a 15th NFL season following a year of personal tumult.

His wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in October, a week after the death of her 24-year-old brother in an ATV accident on the quarterback's property in Mississippi.

And Favre was still dealing with the stunning news of Reggie White's death on the day after Christmas, which came about a year after the death of Favre's father, Irv, from a heart attack.

"After the season, he just needed to think about some things," Sherman said. "Any man would have to contemplate his future when his wife is fighting cancer. It's not like he had to work to make money. He didn't want to be a part-time husband and a part-time football player. It came down to his wife. If she's not healthy, it's obviously a different ball game. But now she's doing well. She wants him to play."

It never was a question of diminished ability because even at 35, Favre is still on top of his game.

He topped 4,000 yards passing last season and recorded his eighth 30-touchdown season, twice as many as any other quarterback in NFL history, and the Packers set franchise records for total offense and net passing yards in 2004.

"He's always been excited about playing football," Sherman said. "He's never lost his enthusiasm for the game. It's just his family situation was pulling at him."

Next season won't necessarily be Favre's farewell, either, Sherman suggested: "As long as he can play at a Brett Favre level, he will -- unless some situation off the field, outside of football, affects him or his family."

Deanna Favre has completed her chemotherapy and is undergoing radiation treatment.

The Favres are helping put on a Faith Hill concert back home Saturday night to benefit breast cancer patients. Favre is scheduled to appear at the Packers' inaugural fan fest that morning in Green Bay.

After the Packers were upset 31-17 by the Vikings in the wild-card round of the playoffs -- Green Bay's second playoff loss at home in three years -- Favre said he needed some time to figure out his future.

Although Favre sustained three injuries serious enough to put him on the injury report last season, he extended his NFL quarterbacks record starting streak to 225 games. Since his first start on Sept. 27, 1992, 183 other quarterbacks have made their NFL debut.

Favre's return-or-retire decision has been a hot topic all winter.

Wide receiver Donald Driver created a controversy when he said at the Super Bowl he talks to Favre often and he felt Favre wasn't coming back. Speculation got so crazy that running back Ahman Green even got some radio play by saying "it could go either way."

Because Favre hasn't spoken publicly about his plans, it wasn't known before Thursday whether the retooled coaching staff, the stripping of Sherman's GM duties in favor of Ted Thompson or the loss of starting guards Marco Rivera and Mike Wahle in free agency would play a role in his decision.

Rivera signed with Dallas and Wahle with Carolina last week, leaving two gaping holes in an offensive line that allowed a franchise-low 14 sacks last season.

Sherman said the only thing Favre had to say about the loss of the guards was they deserved the multimillion-dollar bonuses they received.

"I told him we'll get that fixed," Sherman said. "It never was an issue. Brett said he was excited about what we did on offense last year and he thinks we can do more this year.

"Obviously, his major thing is to win another Super Bowl and he's excited about having that chance."

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