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Brett Favre on why he played in 2010: “First of all, the money”

NFC Championship: Minnesota Vikings v New Orleans Saints

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24: Center John Sullivan #65 of the Minnesota Vikings gestures as Brett Favre calls the snap count at the line of scrimmage against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

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If Brett Favre had retired for good after the 2009 season, he would have left near the top: He had a brilliant season in Minnesota, with the best stats of his career, he led the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game, he extended his consecutive games record another 16 games, and he was one of the most respected men in the NFL.

Instead, Favre came back to the Vikings for one more season in 2010, and it was a mess: He had the worst stats of his career, the Vikings were a bad team, his consecutive games streak came to an end and his reputation was tarnished by sexual harassment accusations stemming from his year with the Jets that might not have ever become public if he hadn’t remained in the public eye.

So why did Favre return? He did it for the same reason most people do their jobs: For the money.

“First of all, the money was too good,” Favre told Deion Sanders on NFL Network. “The money was too good, and I hate to say it’s about money. But, you know, I felt the money was a lot.”

Favre initially signed a two-year, $25 million contract with the Vikings that paid him $12 million in 2009 and $13 million in 2010, but as the Vikings tried to convince him to return for the second year of that deal, they gave him a pay raise to $16.5 million that year, plus $3.5 million in incentives tied to postseason performance. That postseason performance never came, of course, and Favre told Sanders that he hadn’t expected to make the playoffs in that final year.

Favre said “it was going to be next to impossible” to have as good a year in 2010 as the Vikings had in 2009.

“Now, that’s not to say I didn’t give my all,” Favre said. “It just wasn’t to be, and I think I knew that. I really know it now.”

And Favre also knows that he’s now many millions of dollars richer than he would have been if he had retired after the 2009 season.