GREEN BAY, Wis. — It’s the goal of the Green Bay Packers to have Brett Favre make an appearance at Lambeau Field this season. It wouldn’t be to retire Favre’s No. 4 jersey, but it could be used as a trial run to see how Packers fans react to him.
Following the team’s annual shareholders meeting, president and CEO Mark Murphy made it very clear that the Packers want Favre to take the next step towards an official reunion during the 2014 season.
"We are talking about bringing him back for a game this year," Murphy said. "We had discussions last year about bringing him back for a game; those were not fruitful. But we’re hopeful we can get him back for a game this year."
A significant factor involving Favre’s inevitable return to Green Bay has centered around whether Packers fans will boo the quarterback that led the franchise for 16 seasons. Murphy acknowledged two weeks earlier on July 10 "that is an issue," adding, "he wouldn’t want to come back and get booed."
Favre responded to Murphy’s comments about the booing issue earlier this week on a Chicago radio station.
"I’ve heard that was a concern of mine, and I’m here to tell you I’m not," Favre said in the interview with ESPN 1000. "I’m not worried about that. 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."
Murphy read those comments from Favre and now seems to believe much more strongly that Packers fans will give the three-time NFL Most Valuable Player plenty of respect.
"I think they (the fans) are going to look back and they’re going to see the entirety of what (Favre) did, not just the last few years when he played for the Vikings," Murphy said. "He’s arguably the best or one of the best players in the history of the Packers. Probably had as big of an impact on the organization as anybody in the history of the organization.
"I’m very hopeful that when he does come back that he will be fully, fully supported by our fans. I’m confident in that."
Of course, it’s the two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings at the end of Favre’s career that had (and maybe still has) Green Bay’s fan base upset. After changing his mind on retirement in 2008, Favre was eventually traded to the New York Jets after a process that didn’t exactly endear either party to the other. A year later, Favre signed with the division-rival Vikings, playing a total of two games at Lambeau Field as a member of the road team.
But it’s been three seasons since Favre last wore the purple and gold. He said in the radio interview this week, "that’s how I will be remembered; as a Packer. And that’s how I want to be remembered."
Murphy wants to make it official that Favre is remembered as a Packer by having him "back in the family" (a phrase Murphy used in May 2013) before 2016. It’s in the summer of 2016 that Favre will undoubtedly become a first-ballot NFL Hall of Fame inductee.
"Prior to that we’d want to induct him into our Hall (the Packers Hall of Fame) and then also retire his number," Murphy said.