GREEN BAY, Wis. — Sitting by himself on an airplane headed 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.
"It's been a great career for me, and it's over," Favre said, his voice cracking at Lambeau Field two days after he announced his retirement. "As hard as that is for me to say, 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, but had lost his passion to practice and prepare.
"I have way too much pride," Favre said. "I expect a lot out of myself. If I cannot do those things 100 percent, then I can't play.''
Favre, 38, thanked the Packers.
"I hope that with every penny they've spent on me, they know it was money well spent," he said. "It wasn't about the money or fame or records. I hear people talk about your accomplishments and things. It was never my accomplishments, it was our accomplishments."
Favre said he would not hang around the Packers or offer his opinions to the team. He and his wife, Deanna, will take a year off from everything, including their numerous charitable events.
Asked what he looked forward to doing, Favre said: "Nothing."
Bucs add TE Troupe
Titans free-agent tight end Ben Troupe has reportedly signed a two-year contract with the Bucs.
Troupe was one of many players who visited One Buc Place during the first two days of the free-agent signing period. With the Bucs losing Anthony Becht and undecided on bringing back Jerramy Stevens, depth at tight end was a concern.
Troupe joins tight ends Alex Smith and John Gilmore, a free agent from the Bears.
The former Gator hasn't been active in Tennessee's passing game the past two seasons, catching 18 passes in his past 26 games. In his first two seasons, Troupe had 88 receptions for 859 yards and five touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Becht, who exercised an option to become a free agent, said he signed a two-year contract with the Rams.
In three years with the Bucs he was mostly a blocker.
Becht had hoped to remain in Tampa Bay but received a more lucrative offer from the Rams. He will be reunited with quarterback Marc Bulger, a college teammate at West Virginia.
"It's going to be fun," he said.
The Bucs also agreed to terms with free-agent cornerback Sammy Davis, who joined Tampa Bay in 2007.
BEARS: Receiver Marty Booker, traded to the Dolphins in 2004, officially returned with a two-year, free-agent deal worth a reported $3.5-million. "It's good to be back, plus, No. 1, it's good to have a job," Booker said.
BILLS: Steve Christie, the team's most prolific kicker who broke into the league with the Bucs in 1990, retired after signing a one-day Bills contract. His career ended after the 2004 season with the Giants, and he submitted retirement papers last year.
Broncos: Free-agent receiver Edell Shepherd signed. Terms for the former Buc (2003-06) weren't disclosed. He is most remembered by Bucs fans for his dropped touchdown pass against the Redskins in a 17-10 wild-card playoff loss in the 2005 season. Also, free-agent linebacker Boss Bailey signed, joining his brother, cornerback Champ Bailey.
EAGLES: Two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Takeo Spikes was released. Coach Andy Reid praised Spikes, 31, but wanted to go with younger linebackers.
Jaguars: Free agent Maurice Williams re-signed and will compete with Dennis Norman and Uche Nwaneri to start at guard. Drafted in 2001, Williams has spent his entire career in Jacksonville, starting at right tackle for six years.
JETS: Fullback Tony Richardson, who spent most of his 13-year career blocking for Priest Holmes in Kansas City, signed. Richardson played with the Vikings last season, making the Pro Bowl for the third time.
TITANS: Jevon Kearse, who had his best seasons in Tennessee, agreed to rejoin the Titans, who will use him as a situational pass rusher. "I feel at home right here," said the former Gator, who was released by the Eagles.
Times staff writer Stephen F. Holder contributed to this report.