By Paul Imig Special to Published Jul 17, 2015 at 5:16 PM

The public backlash at the time was swift and severe. It was nearly seven years ago when the Green Bay Packers did what was once unthinkable by trading their legendary quarterback, Brett Favre.

No party involved or even tangentially related initially came out looking good, either. Favre had to settle for being a New York Jet, while Packers general manager Ted Thompson was reviled by much of Green Bay’s fan base. Aaron Rodgers had to deal with the fallout from angry Packers fans who wanted more years with Favre behind center.

But if there was ever a sports story that proves time heals all wounds, this is it.

Not even Favre carving a path for himself to play for the division-rival Minnesota Vikings for two years was able to stand in the way of the upcoming reunion between the three-time NFL Most Valuable Player and the franchise he led for 16 seasons.

When Favre is inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame and has his number retired this weekend, it will have been 238 weeks since he last played an NFL game. That amount of time has proven to be enough for most people who bleed green and gold.

Look how quickly the event itself sold out. Though the public won’t be allowed in the same room as Favre when the actual ceremony is taking place, 67,000 people decided to spend money – albeit only $4 – to sit in the Lambeau Field bowl area just to watch it on the stadium’s video boards. And it’s not as if that’s the only way to watch it. Fans could have chosen to watch the same exact footage on the Packers television network, on NFL Network or on the team’s website. But no, fans wanted the live experience of it all, with ticket selling out in a matter of hours.

For all of the vitriol that existed towards Favre in the state of Wisconsin between 2008 and 2010, the vast majority of Packers fans were clearly ready to forgive, forget and rekindle the old love affair.

It’s surprising in some ways that it took less than five years of Favre being out of the league for the relationship to be so strong again. Of course, Green Bay’s on-field success since Favre’s departure has certainly helped smooth things over. The Packers have since won a Super Bowl and were a few minutes away from reaching the big game again last season. Rodgers has become one of the best quarterbacks to ever play in the league, and he’s surpassed many of Favre’s records. He only trails Favre’s MVP total by one and could have as many as eight more years to try to tie – or break – that mark.

It’s been evident for years that Favre and the Packers would eventually get back together. Momentum really picked up in 2013. First, Rodgers and Favre appeared on stage together (and shook hands) during the NFL Honors show. Then, in an interview I conducted with team president Mark Murphy in May of that year, he said the Packers wanted Favre "back in the family." Just more than two years after Murphy made that comment, Favre will officially put his Vikings days behind him and rejoin the Packers family.

Fans have a few opportunities to once again cheer for the retired ol’ gunslinger throughout the weekend. Whether it’s at either of Favre’s rare autograph sessions, at his flag football game in Madison or at the ceremony celebration at Lambeau Field, fans can reminisce about the storied past they shared with him.

There were the early signs that Favre was going to be a star. It all began Week 2 of the 1992 season when Favre replaced an injured Don Majkowski, leading Green Bay to a comeback victory at home over Cincinnati. Favre’s first postseason victory came the following season and in spectacular fashion, connecting with Sterling Sharpe for a touchdown to beat Barry Sanders and the Lions in Detroit.

By 1995, Favre’s stardom was unquestioned, being named league MVP for the first time in his career at the age of 26. Two more consecutive MVP trophies would follow for Favre, as would the Packers bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay in January 1997. It would be impossible for any Favre supporter to not vividly recall the Monday Night Football game late in the 2003 season when he lit up the Oakland Raiders for four touchdowns on the day after his father died.

By the time of the breakup, Favre was Green Bay’s all-time leader in passing yards, completions, touchdowns ... and interceptions. Most impressive of all (and perhaps most endearingly of all, to the fans who love him) was his 275 consecutive starts while playing for the Packers.

As long as fans can put Nov. 1, 2009 out of their minds (that was when Favre, wearing his Vikings gear, stormed into Lambeau Field and beat Green Bay), the events of this weekend will show just how much Packers fans wanted to love Favre again. The festivities will also display how much Favre wanted to be back in the good graces of those who rooted him on for nearly two decades.

Paul Imig Special to
Paul Imig spent the past five years working for FOX Sports WI. He began by covering the Milwaukee Bucks and Milwaukee Brewers before taking over the Green Bay Packers beat in 2011. In addition to his writing, Paul also made television appearances nationwide on FOX Sports 1. He can be heard on the radio statewide on The Bill Michaels Show and can be seen on Time Warner Cable's Roundtable show with Dennis Krause. Paul is the 2015 recipient of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's award for Graduate Of the Last Decade (GOLD).