Favre on return: 'It was like I never left'
Brett Favre spoke to the media on Saturday prior to his Packers Hall of Fame induction
Boy, I don't know where to start. I had a dream of playing pro football. No different than anybody else across the country. I never dreamed of being in the Hall of Fame. Never dreamed of having my jersey retired. Never dreamed of Pro Bowls. Yes, did I dream of playing in the Super Bowl? Absolutely. I often dreamed about what it would be like to run out of a tunnel and people chant your name. All my dreams have come true and then some. I wanted to play every week. As I stand before you, I can honestly say everything has come true and then some. To have Frank, Mike, Ron, Bob and Mark say all these nice things about me – I'm extremely thankful and blessed – but it's a little embarrassing. Best GM in all of football? Ron Wolf. I could go on all night talking about these guys. I understand this night is "about me," but I'd say it's about us.
I just had to work hard and do all I could do and rely on these guys. That's why I'm here today. It has nothing to do with me, but I'm extremely honored. By the end of night, I think we're all going to be tired of hearing Brett Favre stories. I'm thankful for the opportunity Ron gave me. One of my only regrets is I didn't get to play for Mike longer and I put that on him. I think if he coached me for a few more years, I truly believe there would have been more championships. That's not taking anything away from what we accomplished. The stars fell in line at the right time. I have people tell me all the time, how did a boy from south Mississippi come into that cold weather and play that well? Bart Starr did it and did it quite well. You have to have a great cast and I had a great cast. That starts from the top to the bottom and I'm thankful to be here tonight.
On if it felt like a long time coming:
Not really. I never lost sleep thinking about will they put me in the Hall of Fame? Will they retire my jersey? That was never on my list. Is it a great honor? Absolutely it's a great honor. I didn't wait by the phone for Bob or Mark to call. My body of work wasn't perfect by any stretch, but it spoke for itself. I had an opportunity and I made the most of it. Is he the greatest player? I could care less about that. If I sat around thinking about if they'll place me in the top 10 all time, you'll worry yourself to death. I believe what I did speaks for itself. I'm proud of that and that's good enough for me.
On emotions tonight going into Lambeau Field:
I don't think it will really be that emotional. I think it's more of a celebration. Driving over here, it had the feel of we were playing a game. I think it will have that feel to it. I think it's a celebration not just for me, but all of us. To me it's about all of us. I don't see any sad moments. I'm going to have fun with it. I hope I don't boo hoo and cry, but if I do, so be it.
He cried at his retirement in 2008:
Once. I happened once. Will I keep them in check? That night I didn't keep them in check. Actually, I didn't know what I was doing. I know what I want to say. The question is how do I want to say it? Much like the way I played, who knew what was going to happen.
On 2008 exit and how fans have embraced him now:
I was absolutely in awe when I got word that it sold out in an hour and a half, two hours. My youngest daughter, who just turned 16, you have to know my daughter. She's really shy and timid. She'd rather stay home and watch TV than go to the ESPYs or come do this. She comes home from school. I heard they sold so many tickets, but wasn't going to say anything. She says, 'Hey dad, did you hear they sold 67,000 tickets in 1½ hours.' For her, that's saying a lot. What an honor. I mean no disrespect, I'm more honored by than the Hall of Fame induction itself. That's such a tribute to the fans. That's why Green Bay is Green Bay.
On expectations for talking with the fans:
It's very meaningful. How you portray that is the key. Instead of me worrying about it, just let it go. You tell them how you feel and you be genuine. I don't really have a message in the speech. That's not really me other than the people who were important to me and my stay here. There's a connection with fans here that you can't find elsewhere and I played elsewhere. Even when I was shaking in my boots coming out of the tunnel, I was like, 'Man, this is impressive.' You want to win, but you're up against a lot. It's a special place. I want to rely that message to the people tonight. Coming back, how they've opened their arms.
On what's next with Packers:
We haven't discussed that, how much I'll come back. I don't know. I'll say this. I know you have kids. Our 16-year-old plays volleyball. If I had two other kids, I don't think I could do it. Following them around – it's not like it used to be. It's a year-round job. Maybe we can get a volleyball tournament out here one weekend. Mark can set that up. That's the least he could do. I'm hoping Bart Senior will be here for that ceremony. Bart Junior promised me he's going to be here. What happens in between, I don't know.
On what hope fans remember about you:
It would be interesting if you went out and asked. I'd kind of be interested to hear what they'd say. You'll probably have a pot luck of answers. A good man who definitely has made a lot of mistakes. I think what people relate to me is the genuineness and real. I'd like to think when they look at my career, they'd think, 'That's how I'd want to play.' I wish we'd won more games and more Super Bowls, but I did everything I could do.
On coming in last night and going around Green Bay:
It's funny because I got in late. Mike was mad. Blame Frank for it. Some things never change. We actually came in from LA, got in late. Went right up and got to see all these guys. It really didn't hit me. It was great to see them. It wasn't about, 'I'm back where I started,' until I walked onto the field and it was like I never left. It was a great feeling. It was kind of weird because I'd been here for a couple hours. It was like a sigh of relief. I stayed at the Radisson. Lord knows how much we've done that. I almost felt like ordering a cheeseburger and fries like I used to.
On what his dad would say:
Lord knows what my dad would have said. I know he'd be proud. Same thing with Reggie. Reggie was phenomenal. The greatest player I've ever played with and that's saying a lot. I played with Deion Sanders in Atlanta. Tons of players here. Reggie, the man changed the game. All you have to do is chant Reggie a few times and the tackle was in for a world of hurt. I haven't missed football. I've missed Mike chewing my butt. Rooming with Frank. We always had a good time cutting up with the coaches.
I can't think of a player who's had a larger impact on a team or an organization than Brett Favre has. In terms of retired numbers, this is not something we do very frequently. We've only retired five players' numbers. It's the highest honor we can bestow upon a player. We'll unveil the banner in the atrium. We're excited to have Brett and his family back for Thanksgiving at halftime against the Bears.
Brett is the greatest competitor I've ever seen play. He has to be regarded as the greatest player we've ever had.
In my opinion, and I realize I'm biased, the best player to ever play for the Green Bay Packers. When I came here, I had some people I was very fortunate to work with who covered the Packers in the 30s and 40s through the Lombardi Era and they agreed. I'm indebted to Mike Holmgren and Brett Favre for the rebirth of the greatest franchise in professional sports.
Ron took a chance on me. I hadn't been a pro coach very well and I had never been a head coach. We hit it off and the whole thing started when he walked into my office one day and said, 'I'm thinking of trading our No. 1 pick for this guy named Brett Favre.' I knew Brett. Conducted his workout out of college. A new head coach coming in with two No. 1s, I'm in pretty good shape. Ron could've came in and said, We're doing this.' I always appreciated that. Fortunately, we made the trade and the rest was history. I had the privilege of coaching this young man and competing against him. I believe I know him better now than when I was coaching him. Tonight is going to be a very wonderful evening, a celebration and I'm happy I'm here.
I'm just like Ron, I tell people I was very fortunate to play with Brett Favre. We worked hard and had a great leader in Brett. We went through some growing pains, but it all worked out. I'm glad to have Brett back in Green Bay.