Green Bay, Wis. Sitting by himself on an airplane ride up to Green Bay on Thursday morning, Brett Favre struggled to find a sincere and graceful way to say he was finished with football.
In the end, his tears told the story.
"I know I can play, but I don't think I want to," Favre said, choking with emotion in a news conference at Lambeau Field two days after he announced his retirement. "It's been a great career for me, but it's over."
Wearing an untucked collared shirt, blue jeans and several days' worth of stubble, Favre said he was convinced he could still play on Sundays, but had lost his passion to practice and prepare the way he would need to lead the Packers to another Super Bowl.
Given that fact, he could draw only one conclusion: It was over.
"As they say, all good things must come to an end," Favre said. "I look forward to whatever the future may hold for me."
After a farewell news conference that lasted just over an hour, Favre put his arm around his tearful wife, Deanna, and left the stage - presumably for good.
He takes with him a Super Bowl victory, virtually every quarterback record worth having and the widespread admiration of his peers and fans.
The 38-year-old Favre also leaves with graying hair and a deliberate gait - signs that the years were quietly taking a toll on the man who was celebrated for playing a serious and precise game with the carefree joy of a little boy.