“I feel like some people will cry, that’s how I feel, some people are so passionate about No. 4 and Brett Favre,” Jarrett Bush said.
Almost six years after he was traded to the Jets to end an ugly standoff that split the fan base, the Packers and the Packers Hall of Fame announced on Monday that Favre will be inducted into the team’s hall and Favre’s No. 4 will be retired on July 18.
“It’s a great thing,” Tramon Williams said. “Obviously, Brett meant a lot to the people here. Obviously, the ending to his career with him going to Minnesota and those things are going to stick with some people. But he’s done too much for the organization and everyone in the community. It’s a good thing that they decided to do this now. I think everyone’s going to applaud him. Obviously, you hope that he doesn’t get boos, but I think everyone is going to applaud him. He was a great teammate, first of all. When I was here, great character guy. Obviously, he’s been through a lot, but I’m glad to see him do this now.”
Favre’s final game for the Packers was the NFC Championship Game following the 2007 season. With the 2014 season approaching, only cornerbacks Bush and Williams, quarterback Aaron Rodgers, linebacker A.J. Hawk, kicker Mason Crosby and fullback John Kuhn remain on the roster.
Williams played with Favre for the end of the 2006 season and all of 2007. Williams, a rising player at the time, tried to stop Favre numerous times at practice and watched him on game days. It was only after Favre spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons with the rival Vikings, however, that Williams got a true appreciation for the legendary quarterback’s game. In 2009, with Minnesota winning 30-23 and 38-26, Favre threw for 515 yards with seven touchdowns and no interceptions. Green Bay turned the tables in 2010, winning 28-24 and 31-3 with Favre throwing for 420 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions.
“You know what, when I first played him, when he came to Minnesota, I felt that that was the first time that I realized, ‘OK, this is what a great quarterback is,’” Williams said. “He came in and he played well. That’s the first time and I sat back and was like, ‘This is what a great quarterback is.’ For me to experience that, it was awesome.”
The four games against Favre – and with Favre almost leading the Vikings to the Super Bowl in 2009 but the Packers winning the Super Bowl in 2010 – only added fuel to an bitter border war.
“They were intense,” Kuhn said. “They were a lot of fun. He wanted to win because he had something to prove and we wanted to win because we had something to prove. He got us a couple of times, but we got them, too. They were very good competitions, and it was fun to play in those games.”
Added Crosby: “They were always exciting. We don’t like losing to the Vikings; that wasn’t good. You don’t want to see guys that have been in one place for a long time go other places and do well and come back and beat their old team. That made those games have a little more weight on them, made them a little more exciting. For now, though, it seems like a long time. It’s good that it’s all behind us and everyone can move on.”
During a conference call, Favre said he wasn’t concerned about being booed. He understood that not everyone would be happy to welcome him back into the Packers’ family but said he knows what’s in the hearts of “true Packers fans.” His former teammates hope Favre is showered with cheers, if he returns for a game in 2014 and when he is honored in 2015.
“I feel like some people say he didn’t go out with a lot of class but, at the end of the day, he was just trying to play football, as any guy (would) trying to provide for his family,” Bush said. “He felt like he had more energy in the tank and he wanted to play the game. You can’t knock him for that. But at the same time, Brett Favre, he did it for so many years here, and you have to accept that. As a fan, as a player, and you’ve got to give him your applause for that.”
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