GREEN BAY – Calling his relationship with the organization “much better,” Brett Favre believes his reconciliation with the Green Bay Packers truly is a matter of when, not if.
In an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio Thursday afternoon, Favre confirmed that he and the Packers attempted to have him return to Lambeau Field for a game in “the latter part of the year” last season, but the timing didn’t work – just as team president Mark Murphy told reporters in April.
Both Murphy then and Favre on Thursday said Favre couldn’t make a game work last season because of scheduling conflicts as the offensive coordinator for the local high-school football team, Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, Miss. The team won the 6A state championship last season, although Favre reportedly isn’t coming back for another year on the sidelines.
That could make it easier for the two sides to find a game to bring Favre back to the place that was his football home for 16 seasons, until his acrimonious departure during the summer of 2008.
“We have had communication. Not that it's really anybody else's business, with all due respect,” Favre said in an interview with Bruce Murray and Rich Gannon. “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 [it will happen]. 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.”
Favre, who spent one season with the New York Jets and two with the Minnesota Vikings after his final pass as a Packer was intercepted in overtime of the 2007 NFC Championship Game, said he hasn’t been back in the Green Bay area since his last appearance at Lambeau as a member of the Vikings in 2010, his final season.
“Time heals a lot of things, and I think in this case, you're playing for the rival team, things are going to change,” Favre said. “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. In fact, I had planned on going up to a game the latter part of the season last year, but my high school team played into December and it just was a conflict. But the relationship is much better.
“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.”
During the interview, Favre said he has spoken with both Murphy and general manager Ted Thompson, whom he’d criticized publicly on FOX News and clashed repeatedly with before being traded to the Jets.
Other than a handful of radio interviews and an occasional TV appearance on NFL Network, Favre has largely stayed out of the spotlight since his retirement, and he said Thursday that’s been intentional.
“I’m really content with where I am. I don’t feel the need to do anything, really,” Favre said. “Our youngest daughter (Breleigh) is playing volleyball and we travel around for tournaments on Saturdays. We’re traveling for that and my wife (Deanna) is in Seattle at the moment. [She] is climbing Mount Rainier with seven other teams. I’m just kind of hanging out and waiting for her to get off the mountain. Like I said, I’m very content with where I’m at and what I’m doing.
Asked if he’s looking forward to his virtually guaranteed induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016, Favre replied, “Yes and no. 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. [Breleigh] 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.”
As for his relationship with his replacement, current Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Favre claimed that the two had a good relationship. Rodgers has admitted in the past that their first year together, 2005, was a rocky one, but the relationship did improve thereafter – at least until Favre’s unretirement in 2008.
“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. We watched tons of film together to help him along the way.
“But obviously we all know how good of a player Aaron is and I'll be the first to say it – the guy is tremendous player. He should have a long, long career barring injury. I can't speak for Aaron. 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.”
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