For the first time since his fallout with the Green Bay Packers, Brett Favre is taking responsibility for his role in the way things ended.
“I was at fault,” Favre said in a Buffalo radio interview on WGR 550. “I feel like both sides had a part in it. If you could go back, would I or them have done things differently? I’m sure both sides would. But you can’t.”
Favre had previously not shown much contrition since being traded by Green Bay to the New York Jets in 2008. That certainly wasn’t a typical player-trade situation, though. Favre had retired following the 2007 season, prompting the Packers to give an unproven Aaron Rodgers a shot as the team’s starter after three years on the bench. When Favre changed his mind and wanted to return as the starter, general manager Ted Thompson wouldn’t budge.
As the relationship got messy between Favre and the franchise that he led for 16 seasons, Green Bay eventually shipped Favre to the Jets. After one year in New York, Favre played his final two NFL seasons with the team he wanted Thompson to trade him to in the first place: the Minnesota Vikings.
“The things that transpired that led to us breaking up, if you will, to me, are over and done with,” Favre said on WGR 550.
Now that Favre is 43 years old and retired for good, Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy has been working towards repairing the team’s relationship with the three-time NFL Most Valuable Player.
Murphy told FOXSportsWisconsin.com in May that he wants Favre “back in the family” and to retire the No. 4 jersey at Lambeau Field.
“I don’t know of any player who would not want that to happen,” Favre told WGR 550. “I’m honored just by the thought. Obviously there was, if you want to call it bad blood or whatever, I just think that people started picking sides. And really, I’m over that and have been over it.
“Mark Murphy and I have talked on numerous occasions. I never expected them to do anything. I’m not one to sit here and say, ‘I think they need to do this and do that.’ They have a very good ball team and that’s their primary focus, and it should have always been, which it has.
“As time goes, it heals a lot of things. I know for me, as I’ve gotten further and further removed from the game, I think of statistics and things of that nature, which I don’t know any player where that didn’t matter some. But it matters a whole lot less now.”
In an interview with Jim Rome in May, Rodgers stated that he wants the Packers to retire Favre’s jersey before 2016. That’s the year when Favre is likely to become a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection.
“When will that happen? I don’t think either side is trying to push the issue,” Favre said on WGR 550. “Mark (Murphy) really came in the last few weeks of my career in Green Bay; he kind of came into a hornet’s nest, if you will. He’s been extremely great in trying to make this work. In our discussions, it will happen. I think both sides are genuine. I know they are. And that’s the way it has to come across because that’s the way it should be.
“We don’t want to go out there waving to the crowd with our backs to each other. And I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
Murphy credited Rodgers with providing a “great first step” in getting Favre back into the fold with the Packers. That was at the NFL Honors show in February when Rodgers and Favre surprisingly presented together on stage, shaking hands and laughing.
“Aaron has said some very nice things,” Favre told WGR 550. “He and I have a good relationship. I had a chance to present an award with him at the Super Bowl and that was for real. It wasn’t for show. And so I think everything will be fine.”
This has been a lot of progress in a short amount of time for Favre and the Packers. A year ago, all of this seemed nearly impossible. The “bad blood,” as Favre called it, just seemed like too much to overcome any time soon. But with Murphy, Rodgers and now Favre all moving in the same direction, it seems that No. 4 could soon be commemorated at Lambeau Field.
“I think things will be fine in due time,” Favre said on WGR 550.