Brett Favre was back on the radio Thursday, taking another verbal step toward reuniting with the Green Bay Packers.
A week after he told WGR 550 AM in Buffalo that, “I was at fault” for the way his career ended in Green Bay, the iconic former quarterback was back at it Thursday, this time telling Sirius XM NFL Radio the reasons behind his surprising admission.
“The way the end went down, it’s unfortunate,” Favre told Bruce Murray and former NFL quarterback Jim Miller. “It’s unfortunate on my end. It’s unfortunate on their end that we are even having to talk about this today. They wanted to go in a different direction, and quite frankly, I had no problems with that. I still felt like I could play. I left them in limbo …
"I didn’t want to make a decision until I got right up to training camp, and that’s probably where I was at fault. I was also at fault for saying (in March), 'I’m retiring,' because at that time and day I talked to (Packers coach) Mike McCarthy, I didn’t want to play.”
But Favre did want to play and was eventually traded to the New York Jets in Aug. 2008 for what turned out to be a third-round draft pick. The next summer he signed with the rival Minnesota Vikings and played there for two seasons before retiring following the 2010 season.
The healing between the Packers and Favre started in February when quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Favre presented an award at an NFL Honors event prior to the Super Bowl. Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy has said on multiple occasions that the franchise wants to bring Favre “back into the family.”
“It’s a no brainer,” Favre said of mending his relationship with the team. “Like we all know, time heals pretty much anything. I think I’ve made numerous statements in regards to Green Bay and how I feel. My 16 years in Green Bay – I wouldn’t trade for anything. It was fun. We were good. If there was one wish I could have, it would be that we won more than one championship, but I wouldn’t change anything.
"It was a great ride for me. More than I ever dreamed of. To play in Green Bay, had I not ever played there I wouldn’t know. It’s one of those things you don’t know what you’re missing. But it’s a special place. There is no place like it.”
In his interview on WGR he said he and Murphy have spoken, “numerous times” about his return to Green Bay.
“When will the day come that I go back?" Favre asked. "I don’t know that for certain. I think both sides agree there is no sense in rushing anything for the public. I don’t know what the response will be from the fans. I think there is a great deal of fans that respect the way I played, what I did for that organization. Because I know I’m very proud of what I left behind there.”
What the two sides eventual relationship would be is still unknown. In 2008, it was reported the team offered Favre a $20 million personal services contract to stay retired. When asked on Thursday whether he would like an ambassador type of role with the team, Favre said that it’s not up to him.
“First of all, I don’t ‘think they need one,” Favre said. “The reason it is Green Bay is because it’s just that. It’s the Green Bay Packers. The tradition, the history, the former players (and) the coaches that make up this great history speaks for itself. I don’t have to go out and promote the Green Bay Packers. ... I don’t want to be given (a position) just for kicks and giggles. I’ll say here. I’ll say it any day, anytime and to anyone. That is a tremendous organization. ... I’m not looking for any favors.
“Will I go to some games? Will I be a part of it? Absolutely. To what extent, I have no idea.”
The next time Favre is at Lambeau Field for a game it will likely be for the retirement of his number. He's also expected to someday see his name on the Lambeau Field Ring of Honor, as every other ex-Packers member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame has. Favre is eligible for induction in 2016.
“I’m just honored to even be mentioned with some of the great names that have not only played in Green Bay, but in the National Football League,” Favre said. “Playing itself, in Green Bay, for 16 years is trophy enough. And to play 20 years in the National Football League – call it crazy, or call it luck or call it unbelievable. To me, I always dreamed of playing in the Super Bowl. I always dreamed of playing in the National Football League. I never dreamed of winning the MVP three times. I never dreamed of the Hall of Fame. I never dreamed about a lot of the things that come with it. I just dreamed of playing. All of my dreams have come true.”
Favre also went into further detail about his relationship with Rodgers, who was taken with the 24th pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. Favre appeared upset in the wake of Rodgers' selection that Packers General Manager Ted Thompson ignored the team’s needs and wanted to find his replacement. But Favre said there was never any issues between him and Rodgers.
“I think it was a ratings boost,” Favre said of the perception the two didn’t get along. “And I think if Aaron (Rodgers) were on this phone right now he’d say the same thing. I spent a tremendous amount of time studying the game myself. … I can pretty much remember all the time Aaron would say, ‘You mind if I watch a little film with you?' This would be after people left on Wednesday or Thursday (at) 5:30 p.m. And I said, 'Sure.'
“We got along fine, really. There were no problems between Aaron and I. I had no problem with him becoming the next quarterback for the Packers. It was bound to happen at some point. I’ve had no problems with the success he’s had. In fact, I’m proud of him.”
Zach Heilprin covers the Packers for WBEV and WXRO radio in Beaver Dam, sister stations of ESPNWisconsin. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/zachheilprin.