GREEN BAY, Wis. — It wasn’t a popular decision at the time. Brett Favre wanted back in for another season with the Green Bay Packers, but general manager Ted Thompson had other plans.
That was five years ago. Now, after quarterback Aaron Rodgers — who replaced Favre as Green Bay’s starter — and Packers CEO Mark Murphy spent the offseason talking about ways to bring the retired former gunslinger back for a retirement ceremony, even Thompson is on board.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Thompson said Tuesday at his press conference. “Talking about this place and what it means to people and the fans, I think it gets blown over a little. Surely, like a lot of people have said — Mark Murphy and other people in the organization have said, this is going to happen. There will be a ‘Brett-coming-back’ thing and him getting his due honors, as he should.
“The man played for a very long time here and was a marvelous, marvelous football player and a good person in the community, he and his wife. I think it means a lot for the Packers for Brett Favre to be remembered in a good light. I have no objections at all. I’m thrilled.”
Many Favre supporters blamed Thompson for the trade that sent the franchise’s 18-year starter out of Green Bay and to the New York Jets. When Favre retired in March 2008, Thompson inserted Rodgers — who spent three seasons on the bench behind Favre — as the Packers’ starting quarterback. Favre’s decision to unretire four months later didn’t change Thompson’s mind.
“I think if you’re talking about the Packers and Brett Favre, and then you’re talking about me, I’m way down on the list — as I should be,” Thompson said.
It’s been said many times in recent months by Murphy that the Packers want to retire No. 4 before Favre’s likely first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Fame induction in 2016.
“We want to have (Favre) back in the family,” Murphy told FOXSportsWisconsin.com in May. “We’re hopeful to have (Favre) back in the fold and get him back involved in the organization soon.”
Murphy credited Rodgers and Favre for the recent progress that’s been made after the two quarterbacks jointly presented an award at the NFL Honors show in February.
Rodgers has since publicly backed the idea of the Packers retiring Favre’s jersey.
“I think it’s time for our fans, this organization and Brett to heal through this and to move forward together before he gets the greatest honor of being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Rodgers told the Jim Rome Show in May. “You know, our country and the state of Wisconsin, these people are a people of second and third and fourth chances. I think it’s time to let the healing process begin for those who are still upset about what went down.”
Favre even took blame for the first time in how his time in Green Bay 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.”
With Thompson’s comments, all parties are now ready for the Favre/Packers reunion to be scheduled. However, Murphy said in July that he doesn’t “anticipate” it happening during the 2013 season.