Brett Favre wants a reunion with the Green Bay Packers, but also doesn’t want to be a distraction to his former team.
In an interview with NFL Sirius XM Radio on Thursday, Favre corroborated Packers president Mark Murphy’s claim that the organization tried to bring the three-time MVP quarterback back for a game last December, but plans fell through because the high school football team Favre helped coach was advancing in the Mississippi playoffs.
As Favre has stated in the past, he doesn’t have many regrets about how his 20-year career unfolded, particularly his messy divorce with the Packers in 2008 and two-year stint with the rival Minnesota Vikings.
Favre said he still hasn’t been to Green Bay since his last game against the Packers, a 28-24 loss on Oct. 24, 2010, but the relationship between the two sides has improved.
Murphy has reiterated that the Packers intend to retire Favre’s No. 4 jersey before his likely Pro Football Hall of Fame induction in 2016.
“Things are much better,” Favre said Thursday. “I haven’t been back in Green Bay since we actually played there, but in my opinion things are much better. Time heals a lot of things, and I think in this case, you’re playing for the rival team, things are going to change. There’s no better history than there is in Green Bay, the tradition, and people love their team there, and they usually hate the other team. So when you join their opponent, that’s going to happen. Again, time heals a lot of things
“It’s going to happen, I’ll be back up there. Again, my career in Green Bay, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It was awesome. The people were awesome, and I just think everything’s going to be fine and in my opinion it is now. It’s just a matter of getting back up there.”
The biggest breakthrough came last February when Favre and his Packers successor, Aaron Rodgers, presented Peyton Manning with the NFL comeback of the year award at the 2013 NFL honors ceremony.
Favre said he doesn't talk much with Rodgers, but added he doesn’t have any ill feelings about Rodgers' success despite how things unfolded after Favre decided to end his retirement a month before the 2008 season.
“I’m no idiot. I know that there’s always someone who’s going to replace you,” Favre said. “The fact he was drafted in the first round, it was time for him to give it a shot. When I did retire, he became that guy. I understand that. I have no ill feelings or animosity towards Aaron. In fact, I thought we got along well.
“Do we talk all the time? No, we don’t, but do I talk to most guys I played with? No, I don’t. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and I’m not surprised how well he’s played.”
Favre, 44, also joked that he still could play “if they would promise not to hit me.”
Here are some other highlights from his interview with Sirius XM:
Any regrets about the way you handled things after you retired for the first time?
“Yes and no. As we know, hindsight’s always 20/20. I had a wonderful, great long career in Green Bay. That can never be taken away, and I’m very proud of that. Had you told me, say in my 14th year that I was going to be playing for the Vikings or the Jets, I would’ve said ‘You’re crazy.’ But you just never know, you never know. And I can’t say that I have regrets and really for anything in my career. I look back, it is what it is, it happened the way it happened for a reason, not only changing teams but the way I played. I had to accept taking the good with the bad. Can I sit here and say I wish I would’ve won that game or this game? Sure. But as I look back I’m very proud of my career and the way I played and approached it. Was it perfect? Absolutely not, but it was the best I could do.”
Any regrets about coming back for one more year with Minnesota?
“This is what I tell people, there’s never one that I’m more sure about making the right decision than the last season. Was it a good season? Absolutely not. But I know this and I think we call can agree. Had I not gone back and played that second year, not only would you guys have been periodically talking about it but other people would be saying to me, had you gone back you all would’ve won it because you all were so close the previous year. Of course, then I would’ve thought maybe they’re right. But we know now that’s not the case, it wasn’t meant to be. So it’s easy for me to say now it wasn’t a great year, it wasn’t a good year, and it wasn’t meant to be but I know I’ll never have that doubt in the back of my mind that I made the wrong decision.”
On what he’s most proud of:
“Well there’s a lot of things I’m proud of but I think there’s two seasons that really stand out to me – the last one in Green Bay and the first one in Minnesota, maybe the one in Minnesota by far would be, in my opinion, the best I ever played considering the circumstance and age, a new team, and we came very close just like we did my last year in Green Bay. As you know, Rich (Gannon, the show's co-host), it’s so hard to be good week in and week out and to do it and change teams and have to learn new personnel, new terminology and blah, blah, blah, a new environment, it’s just extremely difficult. I’m proud of my career in general but those two years are probably the ones I’m most proud of.”
Is it the sooner the better to get back up to Green Bay?
“We’re trying to set up, we’re actually trying to figure out a game to come up and I have been in contact with Mark Murphy and (general manager) Ted (Thompson). It’s just about when the time is right because we have had communication. Not that it’s really anybody else’s business, with all due respect. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Green Bay, and it’s not about me. It’s not necessarily about them. It’s about the fans and respect. When the time is right, they’re going to have things to do. They have a season to play. They have to get ready and I don’t want to be a distraction for them.”
Was it weird coming back to Lambeau in 2009?
“No doubt. No doubt. I never envisioned that would happen. I never envisioned being in the visitors’ locker room and traveling from Appleton to Green Bay on game day on a bus. That never crossed my mind. It was an awesome experience and I say that because I got to see it from the other end. I got to see. It’s a tough environment but it’s such an awesome environment and to experience it from both sides. I thought it was much better for me from the home side but it was such a tremendous experience. … But it gives you goose bumps. It’s a special place. I don’t know what else to say.”
Did you know which locker room to go to?
“At that time, I was well aware which locker room to go to.”
Are you looking forward to Canton (and Pro Football Hall of Fame induction)?
“Yes and now, and again, like I said earlier, I say that with all due respect, we kind of like the anonymity that retirement has brought, and that’s going to be, rightfully so, a positive thing but it’s also going to be a public thing. Our youngest daughter (Breleigh, who is 14), she really hates the limelight and is very shy, so we try to keep that atmosphere around here. So that won’t be an atmosphere that she’s comfortable in, but it is such an honor, so from that respect, yes, I am looking forward to it.”