Favre jersey retirement doubtful in 2014; Packers fear boos in Lambeau return
If the Packers are able to figure out a date in 2015 to retire the No. 4 jersey, Brett Favre will join Bart Starr (No. 15), Reggie White (No. 92), Ray Nitschke (No. 66), Don Hutson (No. 14) and Tony Canadeo (No. 3) as the only players in Green Bay's history to be honored in that way.
GREEN BAY, Wis. — It’s possible that Brett Favre returns to Lambeau Field during the 2014 season, but it almost certainly won’t be as part of a ceremony to retire his No. 4 jersey with the Green Bay Packers.
After Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy spoke Thursday about the team’s annual finances, he was asked about the hot topic of Favre. For more than a year now, Murphy has addressed questions about Favre with optimism that Green Bay would have its former NFL MVP quarterback at a regular-season home game and officially retire No. 4. The time for that reunion has not come yet, though.
"No, I don’t anticipate having him retire a number during the season in a game this year," Murphy said. "We have very good relations and have had very good communication, but I don’t anticipate that this year."
Murphy responded by saying "possibly" when asked if Favre might attend a Packers game during the 2014 season and simply be introduced to the crowd.
"I just can’t confirm that at this point," Murphy added.
When former Green Bay kicker Ryan Longwell made an official appearance at Lambeau Field last season, it didn’t go so well for him. Longwell, like Favre, played for the division-rival Vikings after his time with the Packers. Despite his nine seasons with Green Bay compared to six seasons with Minnesota, many Packers fans booed Longwell.
Considering how much more passionate Green Bay is about Favre than Longwell, and taking into account that Favre’s departure from the Packers happened in a less-than-cordial way, the boos could be loud for the retired ol’ gunslinger.
"That is an issue," Murphy said. "He doesn’t want it, and neither do we. He wouldn’t want to come back and get booed. You can’t control 80,750 people. I really think as time goes on, every year that passes it’s less likely that he would get booed, but that is an issue."
Murphy’s self-imposed deadline to get Favre’s number retired in Green Bay is before the 2016 season. It’s in August 2016 that Favre will be all-but-assuredly be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That means, given that it won’t happen in 2014, the Packers will only have the 2015 season remaining to make Favre’s No. 4 the sixth-ever jersey retired by the franchise.
"Hopefully," Murphy said when asked if he believes the retirement ceremony with the Packers will happen by 2016. "That’s our hope."
Murphy would not get into reports that Favre was unofficially scheduled to attend a game at Lambeau Field during the 2013 season.
"We’ve had discussions throughout," Murphy said. "There were a couple different options we were looking at."
If the Packers are able to figure out a date in 2015 to retire the No. 4 jersey, Favre will join Bart Starr (No. 15), Reggie White (No. 92), Ray Nitschke (No. 66), Don Hutson (No. 14) and Tony Canadeo (No. 3) as the only players in Green Bay’s history to be honored in that way.