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In Sports Commentary

Brett Favre wants you back. (PHOTO: Allen Berezovsky / Shutterstock.com)

Favre wants you back


The 2013 championship season in the National Football League will mark the sixth since Brett Lorenzo Favre's less than glorious departure from Green Bay.

Since August 2008 when Favre was shipped off to the New York Jets for (at the time) a fourth-round draft pick, the Packers have won a Super Bowl, 53 regular season games and five additional playoff games.

Six years is a long time.

Since then, Favre's successor at quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, has signed a $110 million contract, won an NFL MVP, thrown for over 21,000 yards and 170 touchdowns.

That draft pick general manager Ted Thompson acquired for Favre?

It eventually turned into a third-rounder because Favre played more than 50 percent of the Jets' snaps in 2008. Thompson then flipped that pick in a 2009 trade with New England to move up and select none other than Clay Matthews, Jr. at No. 26 overall.

Matthews was the runner-up in the 2010 NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting following a 13.5 sack season and has recorded 42.5 sacks and forced seven fumbles in four years in Green Bay. He also just signed a $65 million contract extension this offseason.

Since August 2008, Favre went 26-19 with the Jets and Minnesota Vikings and should have been the league MVP in 2009 when he led the Vikes to the NFC Championship game after throwing for over 4,000 yards and 33 touchdowns against seven interceptions.

He retired, for good, after a less stellar, injury-filled 2010 campaign and only recently has seemed to crop back up in the public eye with some TV and radio appearances. He even made a public appearance with Rodgers.

Packers president Mark Murphy said recently that sure, Favre would be welcomed back to the organization and that the iconic No. 4 will be retired shortly.

Six years.

Now, Favre wants to get you, the Packers fan, back.

They say time heals all wounds, and that's mostly true. It's especially true in sports, when the wounds between fans and players aren't that real anyway (I won't get into fans and ownership – that can be legit. Just ask the towns where teams picked up and left or constantly pocket revenue sharing while losing). But the relationship between fans and players is a little different.

Favre's exit showed this. Only now, nearly six years later, do you hear fans talk about "accepting" him back into their lives. On the other hand, nearly six years later, you do hear fans say they're not ready for that yet – that too much damage was done not only on the way out the door, but the conscious decision to sign with the hated Vikings.

For awhile, the better part of these last six years or so I would imagine, Favre didn't really care too much about your feelings. Why should he? He was paid handsomely for another three seasons in the NFL and then went home to do whatever it is you do in Mississippi.

But then something probably clicked for the guy: If I keep going this route, I'll be forgotten.

And that's the worst thing that can happen to an athlete – especially one that ascended to the heights Favre did in the green and gold.

No, not scrubbed from the histories, but he wouldn't be revered. That's akin to being forgotten, being as just another guy who once wore the uniform. Oh, sure, he'd have his Hall of Fame speech, and then the NFL would trot him out once his various passing records were broken. But if the fans of Green Bay Packers wouldn't take him back, he would be nothing more than a footnote.

Rodgers is establishing his own legacy – one many already say is on par with Favre's. What if he wins another MVP, or Super Bowl? Or two more? Favre's playing days in Green Bay would've been pushed further into the recesses of the fan's minds. All that would be left was one Super Bowl championship, and a more critical view at his career, including not winning the 1997 title despite being double-digit point favorites and never reaching another.

The good times would be long, long gone.

So, six years later, Favre wants you back. He wants you to remember all the good times. The wind it up and let it fly gun-slinger. The touchdowns. Yes, the crazy interceptions, too. Ripping his helmet off his head and running around like his hair was on fire. Picking up his teammates and carrying them around on his shoulders. He wants you to remember the smiles, not the scowls.

Favre's jersey will be retired at Lambeau Field one day, and he can't be booed during that ceremony, even a little. He can't make his speech at Canton on an early August afternoon and have no one in Wisconsin care because roster decisions have to be made.

It's interesting. For once, the fans don't need the player to profess his love for the city, for the team, for them. It's the other way around. It's an nearly unprecedented position to be in Packers fans – he needs you.


Talkbacks

AndrewJ | May 21, 2013 at 8:56 a.m. (report)

Favre is a no doubt first ballot Hall of Fame jag. Really showed his true colors at the end there, wasting a season with the Jets knowing they'd release him, effectively punching his ticket to Minnesota. Then he acts like Thompson is the bad guy for not outright trading him there or releasing him. Went from Iron Man competitor to rusty cry baby in the blink of an eye.

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wauwatosa | May 20, 2013 at 9:36 p.m. (report)

Where in this entire article does the author offer up evidence that "Favre wants you back"? I'm totally confused. You'd think the evidence would prove the thesis-no?

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TosaJim | May 20, 2013 at 3:58 p.m. (report)

He was fun to watch....not a great football player...but he was and is a GREAT TOOL! He can sit on his tractor in Mississippi and wait...and wait...and wait.

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BVMG | May 20, 2013 at 2:49 p.m. (report)

Great fb player and no doubt remembered in GB and WI. But the guy is a douche for a number of reasons, fb and non-fb related. He can wait.

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brewcitypaul | May 20, 2013 at 1:17 p.m. (report)

After hearing that Favre helped to convince Greg Jennings to become a Viking, it's clear that he still has an axe to grind behind closed doors. I don't think he should be welcomed back into the fold so easily. He knew exactly what he was doing when he left. He made his bed. Let him lie in it. He can come back in 15 years to have his number retired. He's doing this strictly for PR and post football career opportunities.

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