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    Wednesday, February 11, 2009

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    End of an era? Brett Favre tells Jets he'll retire after 18 seasons

    Brett Favre's time with the New York Jets and his NFL career are over.

    Favre's agent, Bus Cook, confirmed in an email to USA TODAY Wednesday morning that his client plans to give up the game after 18 seasons, the best of which were spent with the Green Bay Packers.

    "My time with the Jets was short, but I'm honored to be given that chance," Favre said in an e-mail to ESPN, which was the first to report Favre's intent to retire.

    PHOTOS: Favre career retrospectiveIN THE ARCHIVE: Favre's top 10 Packers moments (March 4, 2008)

    Attempts to reach Favre by telephone were unsuccessful.

    The Jets confirmed that Favre has told them of his plans and spoke with team owner Woody Johnson. The team held a conference call at noon ET.

    "I had a great conversation with Brett this morning," Johnson said in a statement. "Considering that he came from a totally different environment and joined our team during training camp, his performance last season was extraordinary.

    "As I spoke with people throughout the organization, they all told me how much they enjoyed working with him. Brett Favre is a Hall-of-Fame player, but he is also a Hall-of-Fame person. Brett, Deanna and his family will always be a part of the Jets family."

    Favre, 39, retired last March. Then, after a change of heart and a short struggle with the Packers over whether he could return to them during training camp, he was traded to the Jets in August.

    Favre made the Pro Bowl, his 10th, but led the NFL with 22 interceptions last season. Shoulder and elbow injuries hampered him late in the season after he had suffered a earlier sprained ankle.

    The Jets started 8-3, but spiraled to a 9-7 finish and missed the playoffs.

    Favre threw two touchdown passes and nine interceptions in the Jets' 1-4 stretch to end the year. Coach Eric Mangini was subsequently fired after his third season and then hired by the Cleveland Browns.

    Favre was a three-time Most Valuable Player and three-time All-Pro with the Packers, with whom he played from 1992-2007. The Packers won Super Bowl XXXI by defeating the New England Patriots and were beaten three following year in the title game by the Denver Broncos.

    Favre's retirement would save the Jets $13 million against the salary cap, which will be about $123 million for 2009.

    Favre has often flirted with retirement before. Barring another change of mind, he retires as the most prolific passer in pro football history. His 169 wins as a starter, 464 touchdown passes, 65,127 passing yards, 5,720 career completions and 9,280 passing attempts are all records. He also started 269 consecutive games at his position (291 including playoffs), never missing one once the Packers installed him as the starter early in the 1992 season after incumbent Don Majikowski was injured.

    Ever the gambler, Favre's 310 career interceptions are also the most in league history.

    "He truly was as gifted a player as I have ever seen," said Mike Holmgren, who coached Favre in Green Bay.

    Favre's divorce from the Packers was nasty. He asked for his release and was denied it by the club, which had committed in the offseason to making Aaron Rodgers the starter. The trade to the Jets was made on Aug. 6 and the Jets then released Chad Pennington, who signed with the Miami Dolphins and led them to the playoffs.

    Favre said he was "mentally tired" when he first told the Packers he would not return. "I don't think I've got anything left to give," he said at a news conference last March.

    Later, he said he had felt pressured to give the Packers an early decision about whether to not to play another season and then changed his mind. By then the Packers had installed Rodgers, their No. 1 pick in 2005, as their quarterback, though he had not yet started a game.

    Favre's season with the Jets had its moments. He threw six touchdown passes in a win against the Arizona Cardinals and seemingly had turned around a team that was 4-12 the previous season. He finished with 22 touchdown passes.

    "When Brett Favre walked in the locker room, 52 other guys said, 'We've got a guy now and we can win,' and the whole level of confidence came up," said Jim Fassel, the former New York Giants coach and a radio analyst for Westwood One.

    But Favre wore down, talked about feeling his age and his performance declined as the Jets slipped from the AFC East lead in the final month.

    "When we acquired Brett, we knew we would get everything he had," said Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum.

    "He took the time to mentor younger players and his competitiveness and enthusiasm at practice and during games was contagious. I spoke with him this morning and told him that he will be a friend of the Jets for years to come and it was an honor to work with him."

    Tannenbaum and new Jets coach Rex Ryan must now weigh their options under center. Kellen Clemens, who started eight games in 2007 while splitting time with Pennington, heads into his fourth season and is the most experienced quarterback on the roster. Youngsters Brett Ratliff and Erik Ainge are also options.

    The Jets, who hold the 17th pick in the first round of the draft, could also consider players like Georgia's Matthew Stafford and Southern California's Mark Sanchez.

    The NFL scouting combine to evaluate incoming college players begins next week. The market to sign free agents and broker trades officially opens Feb. 27.

    Despite the uncertainty at the quarterback position, Ryan and Co. can now be certain who won't be starting for them in 2009.

    "It was an honor to coach against Brett over the years," Ryan said. "If he's not the best quarterback ever, then he's certainly in the conversation. I have great admiration for him as a player and a person.

    "I wish him only the best in his life after football."

    Contributing: Nate Davis

    Portfolio Mobile - Goldman Tries to Be Frugal, but...

    Goldman Tries to Be Frugal, but...

    Saving money evidently is harder than making it, at least when you're Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

    The famously successful investment bank -- er, bank holding company -- chose to relocate a Technology and Internet Conference from Mandalay Bay Las Vegas to a San Francisco Marriott in a move to burnish its image as a thrifty recipient of heaps of TARP money.

    The only problem is that Goldman doesn't know if it will save money in making the change -- or wind up spending more because of it. A Mandalay Bay employee who requested anonymity told the Associated Press that the cancellation fee to move the February 25-27 conference was $600,000.

    Goldman spokesman Ed Canady suggested that actual savings were less important than the appearance of savings. "The decision to relocate the conference is based on our best efforts to operate according to the requirements of the new landscape of our industry," he told the AP.

    Canady's comment comes after an announcement last week that Goldman would postpone a March conference for hedge fund clients and investors, and shifted an annual event to New York from Miami.

    Goldman's actions reverberate across the financial industry, as companies that have received taxpayer help have endured added pressure and wariness about how they spend the money.

    Most notably, AIG was the target of widespread vitriol in the autumn for spending $440,000 on a luxurious trip for top insurance agents shortly after the government lent it a life-saving $85 billion.

    Others affected include Wells Fargo & Co., which collected $25 billion, and Morgan Stanley, a recipient of $10 billion in bailout funds. Wells Fargo canceled a conference in Las Vegas last week, and Morgan Stanley put the kibosh on a trip to Monte Carlo for "top employees," after much public criticism.

    Goldman's Canady insisted nonetheless that the conference would remain almost the same other than the move to San Francisco.

    by Joan R. MageeRelated Links
    The Man Who Made Too Much
    Saving Citi
    Future of Wall Street: Boring-Banker Syndrome

    (c) 2007 Portfolio. Powered by mLogic Media, Crisp Wireless, Inc.

    Reuters - Google tool helps consumers reduce energy usage

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    Google tool helps consumers reduce energy usage

    Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 3:4AM UTC

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Google Inc on Tuesday said it would use its software skills to help consumers track their home energy usage and thereby lower demand and the global warming emissions that come from producing electricity.

    The move is part of Google's effort to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into renewable energy, electricity-grid upgrades and other measures that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    The company has already invested in several fledgling solar, wind and geothermal companies, as well as two "smart grid" companies.

    Smart grid describes a more efficient, less costly method of moving electricity along long-distance transmission lines to local power lines and end-users in homes and businesses.

    On its official company blog, Google said it is developing a smart grid tool called Google PowerMeter that will show home energy consumption almost in real time on a user's computer.

    The company cited studies showing that access to home energy information typically saves between 5 percent and 15 percent on monthly electricity bills.

    "It may not sound like much, but if half of America's households cut their energy demand by 10 percent, it would be the equivalent of taking eight million cars off the road," Google said.

    Google PowerMeter is currently being tested by employees and is not yet available to the public.

    The company hopes to develop partnerships with utilities so it can roll PowerMeter out to consumers in the next few months, spokeswoman Niki Fenwick said.

    Google's investments in smart grid companies include Germantown, Maryland-based Current Group and Redwood City, California-based Silver Spring Networks.

    (Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Gary Hill)

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