Pack for life
Favre signs lifetime extension with Green Bay
Updated: Saturday March 03, 2001 12:04 AM
GREEN BAY, Wisc. (AP) -- To most people, a lifetime contract means never having to worry about money again. To Brett Favre, it meant having to take a break from mowing his lawn.
"It was hard for them to get me to come to this interview, I was out cutting the grass," the Green Bay Packers' quarterback said Friday from his home in Kiln, Miss., when his lifetime extension was announced on a conference call.
Afterward, the Packers traded Favre's highly touted backup, Matt Hasselbeck, to the Seattle Seahawks for undisclosed 2001 draft choices.
Favre's never been one to fret over finances.
He said his agent tried for six weeks to get him into his office to go over the details of the extension that the Green Bay Press-Gazette reported was worth $100 million over 10 years.
"I was too busy doing something else. Not that it wasn't important to me. But I've always said that I've made great money and I meant that," Favre said.
Favre, the only NFL player to win the MVP award three times, would be the NFL's first nine-figure player, his contract topping the $90 million contract the Washington Redskins gave halfback Stephen Davis last year.
However, Favre's contract, which includes a $10 million signing bonus, is essentially a six-year deal for salary cap purposes.
The final few years of the contract include highly inflated salaries that Favre will never earn. He has said he doesn't see himself playing beyond 2006.
Before renegotiating his contract to allow the Packers to shave about $4 million off his 2001 salary cap number of $9.474 million, Favre had three years and $21 million left on the seven-year, $47.25 million deal he signed in 1998.
"I don't think it will ever affect my play," Favre said. "My first year, when I made $300,000 ... You know, I'm one of those guys who enjoys playing the game and have always said that regardless of what I make, I'm going to play it one way. And I really mean that.
"And people they may roll their eyes at that, they may not. But that's me. It's over and done with today and we go on and play football."
The 31-year-old quarterback said he could never envision himself playing for another team: "If that was to ever come up, I probably would just retire," he said.
Now, he won't have to worry about it.
Favre said he renegotiated not because he had fallen behind other players of lesser talent but to help the Packers surround him with a supporting cast to make another Super Bowl run.
Favre's agent, Bus Cook, and club negotiator Andrew Brandt began talks more than a year ago and completed the contract by Thursday's deadline, allowing the Packers to get below the 2001 salary cap of $67.4 million.
Neither side would reveal specifics about the new pact, although Cook said the first three years are "pretty much" guaranteed and in the final three years contain clauses "that are relatively easy for Brett to earn."
Brandt said: "Brett has been the signature player for this franchise, and one of the signature players for the entire NFL, and this contract reflects that status."
Favre holds the NFL record for consecutive starts by a quarterback at 141 games. And that's despite thumb, elbow and ankle injuries the past two years.
He has the highest winning percentage (.645) among NFL quarterbacks with 50 or more regular-season starts, based on a 91-50 career record, and his 255 TD passes are the most by a quarterback over the last nine seasons. He's also thrown for 3,000 or more yards nine straight seasons, tying Dan Marino's NFL mark.
Favre was honored as MVP in 1995, '96 and '97. He guided Green Bay to two Super Bowls, a victory over New England in 1997 and a loss to Denver in '98.
Favre underwent treatment for an addiction to painkillers in 1996. Afterward, he complained it was unfair the NFL had banned him from drinking as part of its rehab program. He made a conscious effort to quit drinking, wanting to strengthen his family life and prolong his career.
Cook said Favre never anguished over the pace of negotiations.
"You guys know Brett and you know money just wasn't that big of a factor," Cook said. "Of course, it was to me and keeping Brett at the top of the pack, so to speak. ... Obviously this deal will be surpassed by other deals, but Brett's happy with it, and he's going to retire a Packer."
When the call was over, Favre returned to the yard.
"You can't get someone to cut your own grass the way you want it cut," he said.