Favre excited to play again in Wisconsin
MADISON – Brett Favre will get one more chance to play football in Wisconsin.
Although it won't come at Lambeau Field, the Green Bay Packers' three-time MVP quarterback is hosting a Legends Flag Football Game at Camp Randall Stadium on July 19, the day after his No. 4 jersey is retired during an induction ceremony into the Packers Hall of Fame.
During a conference call in Madison on Wednesday morning, Favre and organizer Marty Garafalo confirmed former Packers tight end Mark Chmura, center Frank Winters and receivers Javon Walker and Andre Rison have been confirmed for the Packers' All-Star team.
Favre's team will be pitted against the NFL All-Stars, including former Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb, Herman Moore, Roger Craig, Willie Gault, Anthony Carter and former Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne.
Their first choice was to host the event at Lambeau Field, but the Packers had a scheduling conflict with the Kenny Chesney concert on June 20 and concern over the condition of the field going into the 2015 season.
"They have a Kenny Chesney concert in June and those concerts just tear the field apart," Garafalo said. "They just felt that by doing our game, even though we don't tear the field apart, the scheduling was difficult for them because they wanted it ready. They normally don't do any outside events there, one. But when we told them the date in July, we tried to do a June date, but these concerts take 10 days to get set up. They just didn't feel they had enough time to get the field in the condition."
So Favre improvised and approached Garafalo about the possibility of hosting the event at Camp Randall, where he played in six preseason games during the 1990s.
"I'd be lying if I said it wouldn't have been great to play at Lambeau for obvious reasons," Favre said. "But it is what it is, and they have to get ready for the season and I guess it's relatively close to that, and they have some other events prior to our flag football game. This is not Lambeau, but it's pretty darn close. What a great place to play."
The "whirlwind" of festivities begins July 18 with his induction into Packers Hall of Fame. About 67,000 tickets sold out in a matter of hours last week to watch the ceremony from inside the Lambeau Field bowl.
Garafalo organized a similar flag-football event to close San Francisco 49ers' Candlestick Park and drew approximately 31,000. It's uncertain whether they'll sell out the lower bowl at Camp Randall, which seats about 66,000, but Favre wouldn't be surprised if they did based on the nature of Packers fans.
"I was excited last week to find out so many tickets were sold to Lambeau so quickly," Favre said. "If there were any questions prior to that about how the fans felt about my return, I think those questions have been answered. This game is just another way to cap off that weekend in a fun way."
Along with the ceremony, Favre will get one more chance to stand in front of Lambeau Field fans when his No. 4 will be added to the north end-zone façade during the Packers' Thanksgiving game against the Chicago Bears on Nov. 26.
The opponent and date made sense in Favre's mind given the history the two teams share.
"I felt like that was the right fit," Favre said. "The tradition and the history between the Bears (and Packers) dates back long before any of us were around. Just some fun games and rivalries over the years, and so being a Thanksgiving game, just the magnitude of that in itself is huge. And to me, it's just the right fit, the right choice."
Favre, who'll turn 46 in October, expects the flag football game to be competitive and joked that some of the retired players may need a trip to the trainer's room afterward.
On a personal level, it will be special for Favre to get another chance to play in front of fans again in Wisconsin.
"You know there's nothing like Wisconsin," Favre said. "I've said this all along, to me it's amazing that Los Angeles cannot field a team with the billions of people they have there and Green Bay is by far the smallest market in the league is able to not only field a team but to thrive and be the most successful team, not only on but off the field.
"I'm sure (Dallas owner) Jerry Jones would argue to that, but to me it's just no comparison. We enjoy our time there. There playing football, there's nothing like it. There's absolutely no place like it. This will be really exciting to go back."
When asked whether he'd consider another comeback if he plays well in the game, Favre joked that "anything is possible," but only if the game includes flags. He then added: "Although you guys are pretty secure at quarterback up there right now."
Tickets are priced at $34, $44 and $55 with a family four-pack of $34 seats for $112. They go on sale June 3 at 8:30 a.m. at UWBadgers.com or by calling either 800-462-2343 or 608-262-1440.
Kickoff is set for 4 p.m., and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Favre 4 Hope Foundation.
"Proceeds to this for us go to charity and the fact, you know, that it's a chance to play one more time in Wisconsin, so it's a win-win in all areas," Favre said.
-- firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @WesHod