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Favre: 'I'm still having fun'

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Brett Favre is coming back for another
year.

Favre said Wednesday he will return to the Green Bay Packers
next season, putting off any thoughts of retirement.

"I have every intention of coming back," Favre said after
practice Wednesday.

The words "I'll be back" are scrawled across a photo of Favre
on the cover of USA Today Sports Weekly, which hit news stands
Wednesday.

Favre is quoted as saying, "Yeah, I'll be back. I see no reason
why I shouldn't come back and play. It's a young team with a good
future. I still feel I can play with the best of them."

After leading the Packers to a three-point victory over
Minnesota on Nov. 2, Favre hinted strongly in an interview with The
Associated Press he wanted to keep playing in 2004 and possibly
beyond. He said he was having fun leading the youthful,
revamped offense, and it hadn't yet hit its peak.

Although he's not performing to the level at which he became the
NFL's only three-time MVP in the late 1990s -- in part because of a
broken right thumb -- Favre assured he has a lot to give at age 34.

He also is clearly reinvigorated with the Packers (8-6) tied
with Minnesota atop the NFC North and vying for a playoff berth.

"I'm having fun playing as good of football as I feel like I've
played in my career," Favre said. "We're still winning. We're
still in the playoffs or have a shot for the playoffs.

"Yeah, I have been hurt this year, but I've still played.
That's always an issue to me, but I can't complain as I sit here
before you today."

Packers players and coaches welcomed his comments.

"Brett is a champion, and I expect him to come out here and
compete," said fullback William Henderson, a teammate of Favre's
since 1995.

Coach Mike Sherman and offensive coordinator Tom Rossley were
equally enthused.

"I never anticipated for him not to be back this season,"
Sherman said. "There's too much in his blood. He enjoys this too
much."

Added Rossley: "We're all hoping it's going to be another five
or six (years). You can tell the way he's playing, I don't think
he's near ready to not play anymore."

The comments followed accusations over the weekend by Hall of
Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw regarding Favre's performance this
season.

Bradshaw suggested that unnamed individuals within the Packers
organization have blamed the team's underachieving season on Favre.

"There is some finger-pointing going on up there," Bradshaw
told Fox viewers.

The Packers fired back Wednesday, with Sherman calling it a
"total fabrication."

"It is so far from the truth -- I don't even give it any
credibility whatsoever," Sherman said. "Brett Favre this year ...
what he has done for our football team, playing with a broken
thumb, doing all he can do to help us win football games, I just
can't say enough about him."

The Packers have won five of seven games and caught Minnesota in
the division standings since Favre broke his thumb at St. Louis on
Oct. 19.

"First of all, I don't believe it," Favre said of Bradshaw's
claim. "I'm not saying that one person (in the organization)
couldn't have said it. But I don't believe it, and I don't think
it's an issue.

"Secondly, I never felt that any time during the year, even
personally, I was hurting the team or someone else was hurting the
team or anything like that. So, I think it's a non-issue."

Favre has thrown 20 interceptions, his highest this late in the
season since 1999, when he finished with 23. Yet, he's coming off
perhaps his best game of 2003, having rallied the Packers to a
38-21 win at San Diego on Sunday. He threw for 278 yards and a
season-high four touchdowns, including three in the final 11½
minutes.

Favre has 27 touchdown passes, equaling his total last year. He
is 154 yards short of his 12th 3,000-yard season, which would equal
John Elway for second place on the league's career list.

Sherman said the Packers -- and the whole NFL -- would benefit
from Favre staying.

"He brings too much to the game," Sherman said. "He's too
valuable, not just to this team but to the National Football League
-- the way he plays the game, the humbleness in which he presents
himself with his success.

"We have a Hall of Fame quarterback who acts like he's a free
agent out there sometimes. What a lesson that is for these guys
today."