Brett Favre Must Swallow His Pride and Embrace the Green Bay Packers

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Brett Favre Must Swallow His Pride and Embrace the Green Bay Packers
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Brett Favre at the edge of his career.

Aaron Rodgers wants Brett Favre on good terms with the Green Bay Packers.

During his radio show on ESPN 540, via Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com, Rodgers stated:

"Brett is two years removed from the game. He's going to obviously be in the Packers Hall of Fame. He'll get his number retired, and he'll be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the next few years. It's important, I think, to make sure that he's recognized for all the accomplishments that he's achieved in our organization especially. He's still very dear to many of our fans for the things that he's done for the Packers on the field. You can never take that away. 

"As the face of the franchise, I felt like it was important that I took a leadership role in that. Not that one was needed now, but I thought it was good timing to just let the fans know, let Brett know, let's move forward. Let's heal things up and let's move forward."

"… You think about what you want your legacy to be and how you want to be remembered," Rodgers said. "As I move forward … I think about how I want to be remembered, and this is one thing that I really want to move forward with."

Moving forward would certainly be a great thing. But this entire situation won't be easy for everyone.

So, to remind us of what NFL and Packers fans must move forward on, let's look back at how Green Bay, Rodgers and Favre began this wacky journey to present day.

 

January 2008 Through Subsequent Offseason

Green Bay entered the 2008 postseason as the NFC's No. 2 seed.

Favre led the cheese to a victory over the Seattle Seahawks and then hosted the upstart New York Giants with Eli Manning for a trip to Super Bowl XLII. Instead, Green Bay fell in overtime and Favre's final passing attempt as a Packer resulted in an interception.

The long-time quarterback of Titletown then retired in early March.

It was now Rodgers' team.

Or was it?

Favre then opted out of retirement and tried to get back under center for the Packers. The man had some power as well. Per Adam Schefter, then of NFL Network in July of 2008:

Without having an official no-trade clause in his contract, Favre has an unofficial no-trade clause in the leverage he has.

If the Packers agree to trade Favre to any team, the quarterback can veto the deal simply by declining to report. Then Favre's rights would revert back to Green Bay, which would be forced to take him back along with his $12 million base salary -- or release him.

To carry's Favre salary, and all the distractions that came along with it, would be an enormous financial and emotional burden for the Packers. Thus Green Bay would have to commit to keeping Favre or to trade him.

Basically, if Favre unretires he gets to play where he wants.

No wonder why Favre became so polarizing so quickly.

Few players, if any, possess that exclusive power in pro football. Obviously, Favre was considered in his own class and not even Green Bay thought he would suit up anywhere else.

And according to the Associated Press, via Sports Illustrated, in an interview with FOX News:

"You're telling me playing there is not an option, but playing elsewhere, we just can't -- we're trying to protect your legacy," Favre said. "Well, thank you. I appreciate that. But apparently now, they're trying to protect my legacy by bringing me back and having me be a backup. Boy, that is really good."

In the interview, Favre said the Packers were being dishonest, although he did not point out specific examples in the portion of the interview.

Then his ego kicked in full force and upon reinstatement, Favre met with coach Mike McCarthy that August, via Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com:

Even with the chance to win his starting job back potentially on the table, McCarthy said Favre couldn't seem to get past emotional wounds that were opened as tensions mounted in recent weeks.

Favre also said a competition "probably isn't going to work" and that "the problem is that there's been a lot of damage done and I can't forget it."

McCarthy said Favre was "very convincing" in their conversations about his desire to play Monday night and Tuesday. But McCarthy still seemed to have reservations about Favre's commitment to preparation.

Combine Favre's luxury of getting to choose his place to play in 2008, along with McCarthy's skepticism regarding preparation, how this situation ended isn't surprising. Not to mention it revealed Favre's unwillingness to partake in the early days of training camp over the next few seasons.

We must also learn from Rodgers' character in this situation. The guy was pure class from start to finish. Green Bay obviously pressed onward with Rodgers, who was a first round draft pick, and the immediate future was set.

As a result, Favre ended up with the New York Jets.

 

Favre Suits Up For Jets and the Drama Continues

New York was enjoying a strong 2008 campaign at 8-3 with Favre at the helm.

Then, all of a sudden, the Jets slumped and finished 1-4 and missed the postseason. Head coach Eric Mangini was gone after the season and Favre decided to retire...again.

Also, some off the field misconduct came to light in 2010 that occurred with reporter Jenn Sterger. Regarding the Deadspin story in August of 2010, CBS Sports reported in October of 2010:

"We are reviewing the matter," league spokesman Greg Aiello said when asked about reports that a person alleged to be Favre sent voice mails and lewd pictures to Jenn Sterger.

Asked to respond to the Deadspin report on Thursday, Favre said: "I'm not getting into that. I've got my hands full with the Jets and am trying to get some timing down with our guys, so that's all I'm going to discuss."

In the end, according to NFL.com Farve was fined $50,000 for not fully cooperating.

Rewinding back to the 2009 offseason and Favre then went back to the NFC North and signed with the Minnesota Vikings.

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The signing also prompted some Packers fans to burn Favre jerseys.

 

Tenure with the Vikings

Although Favre's move to Minnesota was not well-received in Green Bay, Vikings fans caught a glimpse of what the legendary gunslinger brought to the Packers for so many years.

In 2009 he completed 68.4 percent of his throws and averaged 7.91 yards per attempt—each were career bests. Additionally, Favre tossed 33 touchdowns to only seven picks and racked up 4,202 passing yards.

It was his final Pro Bowl campaign.

That postseason, Favre nearly led Minnesota back to the Super Bowl. The Vikings fell to the New Orleans Saints, 31-28 in overtime, and Favre's final pass was intercepted that led to a game-winning field goal sending Minnesota back home.

Favre then returned for a second season in Minnesota, much like the first where he duped out of early parts of training camp. Plus, Favre revealed his true meaning for returning that season. In an interview with NFL Network's Deion Sanders via Kevin Cusick of the Pioneer Press:

"The money was too good," Favre said in an interview with Deion Sanders that aired on the NFL Network's "No Huddle: Favre and Sanders" show Thursday, July 19. "I hate to say it's about money, but I felt the money was a lot."

Well, along with his age and worn down body, Favre pulled a 180-degree turn for the worse. Minnesota began 4-7 and Favre had a mere 10 touchdowns to 17 picks.

He was then smacked by Arthur Moats of the Buffalo Bills and made his final NFL appearance against the Chicago Bears two weeks later.

Finally, Favre retired for a third time and would be done at age 41. Meanwhile in Green Bay...

...Aaron Rodgers was busy sneaking the Packers into the 2010-11 postseason.

In doing so, the Packers earned the NFC's No. 6 seed and went on an impressive run through January to ultimately win Super Bowl XLV.

 

Retirement, Legacy and Rodgers' Comments

As much as anyone can hate on Favre for his departure from Green Bay, using the Jets for one season and playing for Minnesota, the guy had one strong NFL career.

Setting countless records, Favre finished with 11 Pro Bowl and six All-Pro selections. And he did win two NFC titles for Green Bay, along with Super Bowl XXXI.

So, we can't just shun his impact aside.

Getting back to Rodgers' comments, they followed up an interesting encounter with Favre prior to Super Bowl XLVIII. The two met on stage at the NFL awards show.

The encounter certainly released some tension between the two and it's clear we can all sit back and laugh. Factor the aforementioned of what Rodgers stated and that's a strong lesson Favre can learn from.

He's taking the higher road in wanting to bridge the gap between Favre and the Packers.

After all, Rodgers already learned under Favre from 2005 through 2007 and kept the string of Packers quarterbacks rolling. Dating back to the days of Arnie Herber and Bart Starr, and through Don Majkowski, Favre and Rodgers kept Green Bay a factory of legendary signal-callers.

What are your feelings toward Favre right now?

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Reeling Favre back into good terms with the organization binds the two, as opposed to sustaining tension and animosity. Given that the Packers won their fourth Super Bowl during Favre's final campaign also soothes some of the malice toward him.

Lest we forget about the impact and opportunity provided from Favre's initial retirement.

Had he stuck around in Green Bay through the 2010 season instead of bolting to New York and playing for Minnesota, where would Rodgers currently be in his career?

If anything, Favre's ineptitude and ego served Rodgers and Green Bay well. Because it allowed the organization to move ahead and bring back the Vince Lombardi Trophy shortly thereafter.

Now, let's just make peace and get everything back to normal.

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