Favre isn’t worried about getting booed by Packers fans
Whether it was in Green Bay or after his turbulent departure from Packertown, Brett Favre attacked defenses with reckless abandon, often disregarding the consequences that might come with throwing to a heavily blanketed target or scrambling into the jaws of a bloodthirsty linebacker ready to take his head off.
The now-retired Gunslinger is approaching his impending, ceremonial return to Lambeau Field — whenever it finally takes place — in similar fashion.
He doesn’t care if he gets booed. He’s impervious, he says, to whatever negative reaction might be elicited when he steps back on the Frozen Tundra without a helmet shielding his skull and pads protecting his shoulders.
"I’ve heard that was a concern of mine," Favre said Monday during an interview with radio station ESPN 1000, "and I’m here to tell you I’m not."
It’s a viable concern looming over any game-day commemoration of Favre, who in 16 seasons with the Packers established himself as one of football’s most prolific passers ever and led them to a Super Bowl XXXI win in 1996-97.
Then came the un-retirements, a defection for the New York Jets and the final, absolute conclusion of his playing career with the hated Minnesota Vikings. Green Bay had plans to retire his jersey before he announced in 2008 he was coming back to the league and still wishes to add his No. 4 to the ranks of Bart Starr, Reggie White, Ray Nitschke, Don Hutson and Tony Canadeo as Packers to have their digits retired.
That likely won’t happen this season, but president and CEO Mark Murphy has entertained the idea of a 2014 Favre appearance nonetheless.
Provided the boo birds don’t ruin the show.
"That is an issue," Murphy said earlier this month. "He doesn’t want it, and neither do we. He wouldn’t want to come back and get booed."
According to Favre, though, it’s not an issue.
"I’m not worried about that," he said. "I’m well aware that you can’t please everyone. Not everyone’s going to like you regardless, and you know what, so be it. But I think the 16 years that I had in Green Bay speaks for itself.
"I have played with other teams, but I will be remembered as a Packer. I feel that. I think the true Packer backers, which there are tons out there, feel the same way. I’m not the first player to play for other teams or rivals."
Murphy’s presented a self-imposed deadline to retire Favre’s No. 4 — August 2016, when Favre almost assuredly will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. If it doesn’t happen this season, it’ll have to during the 2015 campaign.
Murphy feels the longer the Packers wait to bring Favre back, the better chance they have of mitigating the catcalls.
"You can’t control 80,750 people," he said. "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."
Former teammate and tight end Mark Chmura told ESPNWisconsin.com that Favre backed out of a planned appearance at Lambeau last season for fear of being booed, but Favre insists he has a "good relationship" with the Packers and their fanbase and has been working "diligently" with Murphy and former CEO Bob Harlan to plan a return, jersey retirement ceremony and induction into the Packers Hall of Fame. A conflict with his high school coaching duties, Favre said, kept him from coming back last year.
"As time goes by," Favre said, "that’s how I will be remembered — as a Packer, and that’s how I want to be remembered."
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