GREEN BAY – Let the healing begin?
In what some Green Bay Packers fans might’ve thought was a hell-freezes-over moment, Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre shared the stage at the NFL Honors event in New Orleans on Saturday night, presenting the Associated Press NFL comeback player of the year award to Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
Before they did, the two had the following exchange which, like all presentations, appeared to be read off the TelePrompTer.
As he received the award, Manning said, “What a tremendous honor to receive this award from two of the best quarterbacks of all-time, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. It sure is great to see the two of them up here together. It’s great for football. I feel pretty confident me and Andrew Luck will be up here one day presenting this award together.” Manning, of course, was released by the Indianapolis Colts after missing all of the 2011 season with a neck injury, and the Colts drafted Luck No. 1 overall after going 2-14 without Manning.
For those who don’t recall, Favre announced his retirement in March 2008, informed the Packers of his decision to unretire in July 2008 and, after one of the ugliest splits between a franchise and a star player in league history, was traded by general manager Ted Thompson to the New York Jets in August 2008. Favre then retired from the Jets following the 2008 season, only to unretire again and go on to play two seasons with the rival Minnesota Vikings in 2009 and 2010.
Since then, Favre has been estranged from the franchise for which he played 16 seasons, winning three NFL MVP awards and leading the team to the Super Bowl XXXI title in 1996.
In July, Favre was interviewed by NFL Network’s Deion Sanders and said that while he expected to have a relationship with the organization “someday,” he was not worried about it. Asked by Sanders if he has any relationship with the team, Favre replied, “Not really.”
Asked by Sanders about not being wanted by the Packers, who moved on with now-NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers as their quarterback, Favre replied: “We see it all the time. … But I also understand that changes need to be made – sometimes in spite of how you play. It would be easy to say, ‘We’re going to let this guy go, (he) didn’t play very well;’ it’s like, ‘You start to see diminished skills.’
“I had my best year my last year there [in Green Bay]. A lot has been said about their side, my side, who should’ve … The business part of it is it happens. I’m not upset at that, I really am not.”
Retired team president Bob Harlan said the Packers Hall of Fame tried to facilitate a reconciliation by approaching Favre's agent, James "Bus" Cook, about Favre attending the July induction of former head coach Mike Holmgren. To Harlan's disappointment, that didn’t happen. Asked by Sanders if he would like to have a relationship with the Packers, Favre said: “It’ll happen someday. … That day will come. I haven’t lost any sleep over it, nor have they. They’ve gone on.”
In May, Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy said during a stop on the team’s annual Tailgate Tour bus tour around the state that the team hoped to retire Favre’s jersey in the next year or two, adding that the team wants to do it “when it’s meaningful to Brett.”
Perhaps Saturday night was a step in that direction.
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