GREEN BAY – Twenty years and one day after he forever changed the Green Bay Packers’ quarterbacking fortunes in dramatic fashion, could Brett Favre be inching closer to a reconciliation with the team he came to embody?
Speaking on Monday Night Football play-by-play man Mike Tirico’s podcast on ESPN.com, the ex-Packers – and ex-New York Jets and ex-Minnesota Vikings – quarterback sounded a bit more open to mending fences with the organization than he did several weeks ago during an NFL Network interview with Deion Sanders taped over the summer.
When Tirico opened the podcast Friday morning by asking Favre if he knew what 20th anniversary Thursday had been, Favre admitted that he wouldn’t have known it had been that long since he went in against the Cincinnati Bengals and rallied the Packers to a 24-23 victory after Don Majkowski suffered an ankle injury on Sept. 20, 1992.
“I couldn’t believe it was 20 years,” Favre told Tirico. “It seems like yesterday. You can’t remember where you put your keys or your glasses … but there’s certain events that you remember as if it were yesterday, and that’s one of them.
“That paved the way for a lot of good things to come.”
Perhaps the good times Favre and the Packers enjoyed together will feel that way again, given that he spoke wistfully of seeing the Lombardi Era players and likened his relationship with the Packers to a grudge where “You just kind of get over it.” Four years after an acrimonious split culminated in his August 2008 trade to the Jets, Favre's comments sounded extremely encouraging compared to things he's said in the past.
When Tirico asked Favre, “Do you see the day that you go back and get your number retired and there’s a big group hug again?” Favre chuckled. He maintained that he hasn’t thought about the possibility but said he expects it will come.
“I’m sure that day’s going to happen, but I haven’t thought a whole lot of about it,” said Favre, who’s now working as the offensive coordinator at Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, Miss. “The Packers have had great success since I left, not surprised by that. (They have a) great group of talented players there led by Aaron (Rodgers), of course. That organization is really apart from (the rest), maybe the Yankees I guess, just in tradition and history. I’m so thankful that I was part of it.
“I know that day (will come). How that will unfold, I have no idea when that will happen. I don’t think their side is thinking about it. They’re trying to figure out how to get back to the Super Bowl, and really I’ve got my plate full. I think that’s good for both sides, not that we don’t need to shake hands and move on. I think in some ways that has happened, but you know, I do see the day, it’s going to happen. When? I have no idea.
“I don’t think it’s as big a deal as people make it out to be because I think both sides have moved on. I’ve got nothing but respect for that organization and the guys who play there. There’s a lot of new faces there. But as you bring back those memories, I think about those great days and great moments of my career and the thing that keeps ringing over and over is how quickly it goes by. You have to enjoy it.
“I made a lot of mistakes over my career, but I can honestly say, I enjoyed the moment. And that, I’m proud of.”
Tirico then asked Favre if when he watches the Packers on Monday Night Football – “in your Wranglers, of course – if he roots for or against the Packers or if he’s indifferent.
“Indifferent, I guess,” Favre replied. “I can’t help but feel a sense of being a part of that and it’s funny, before you called, or actually a couple days ago when you asked if I would do this, at different times I was thinking about my career there … I can remember the old guys coming back, great players – Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Jerry Kramer, Fuzzy Thurston, Ray Nitschke, Willie Wood, I can just go on and on.
“All these are coming back, being an honorary captain, alumni day, whatever, and just thinking … Because I was always a history buff. I knew a lot about the Packers but I could not tell you where Green Bay was before I was traded. I knew it was up north. But all these old players, I knew. And so when they would come back, it wasn’t just being polite, I just had a lot of respect for what they had done and how they had paved the way.
“You look at Lambeau Field and where that place has gone and how it’s evolved, I can’t help but feel a sense of being a part of that. And so, even though it’s a shame the way things went down between I and the Packers, as time goes by, you just kind of, it’s kind of like a grudge, you just kind of get over it.”
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