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Time for Brett Favre to man up

July 9, 2012
By MATT WELLENS - Journal Sports Editor ( , The Mining Journal

As temperatures have soared higher and higher in the Midwest, debate among followers of the Green Bay Packers about a certain No. 4 has heated up.

At first, the topic of Brett Lorenzo Favre began just as something to chat about until players report to training camp on July 25.

Believe it or not, Favre talk is a welcome relief from the breakdowns of Donald Driver's victory on "Dancing with the Stars," or the debate over whether the reality show had an impact on the Packers' decision not to cut the aging veteran - yet.

Article Photos

Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre waves after throwing a touchdown pass against the Seattle Seahawks on Jan. 1, 2006 at Lambeau Field. Retired Packers President Bob?Harlon told the Packers Hall of Fame committee invited Favre to?Mike Holmgren’s induction ceremony on?July 21, however, the estranged Packers QB never got back to the group. (AP file photo)

The Driver dilemma is actually what sparked the Favre talk, as many speculated why Mark Murphy, Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy were willing to restructure the aging wide receiver's deal to keep him in Green Bay when the Packers had so many other wide receivers behind him starving for playing time.

Did the franchise learn a lesson from its divorce with Favre? Are Mark, Ted and Mike becoming a bunch of softies?

Maybe they were just afraid of crazy "Dancing with the Stars" fans, like the lady who stole Driver's shoe from a kid during a charity softball game.

Whatever the reason may be for Driver's return - the veteran depth will be helpful - it got people thinking about how to get Favre back into the fold at 1265 Lombardi Avenue.

As it turned out, retired Packers President Bob Harlan had an idea, which he shared last week with Jason Wilde and Bill Johnson on's "Green and Gold Today" while talking about the upcoming induction of former head coach Mike Holmgren into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.

As it turns out, Harlan and the Hall of Fame committee - an entirely separate entity from the Packers' franchise - came up with the perfect way to begin the healing process.

"We had a meeting about two months ago and talked about who should be invited back," Harlan said about Holmgren's induction. "We talked about players and I said to the group, 'What about No. 4?'

"This would be the perfect time for him to come back, come into Green Bay. The crowd at the Hall of Fame banquet is an adoring crowd. They're as loyal to the Green Bay Packers as anybody."

Harlan's right. The induction of Holmgren - who at one time was as polarizing of a figure in Green Bay as Favre was - would be the perfect moment for Brett to return to Lambeau.

It's also just seems right to have the two together for this occasion, since neither would have won Super Bowl XXXI or even gotten to the Superdome in New Orleans without the other.

Favre's camp doesn't seem to agree with Harlan, however. Favre's not coming.

"Unfortunately, I don't think he's going to do it," Harlan told Wilde and Johnson. "We did approach his agent and I don't think Brett's going to do it. I feel badly about that."

Harlan told listeners he believes it's not Murphy, Thompson or McCarthy holding back Favre's return.

Harlan said he believes Favre fears the fans and the deafening chorus of boos he got during his last two visits to Lambeau wearing purple - a 38-26 Vikings win on Nov. 1, 2009, and a 28-24 Packers win on Oct. 24, 2010.

"There's going to be a lot of people who love him, but there's going to be some people, particularly after tailgating all morning, who aren't going to appreciate him," Harlan said. "I think he finds that very tough to handle."

While true that a few drunks will yell obscenities and continue to hold a grudge because Favre's "betrayal" to the Vikings, the majority of Lambeau Field will welcome back No. 4 with open arms.

Who wouldn't get chills seeing the franchise's three Super Bowl winning quarterbacks - Bart Starr, Favre and Aaron Rodgers - together on the Frozen Tundra, arms around each other's shoulders at the 50-yard line?

"He's got to come back someday and have his number retired," Harlan said. "He's going to go into the Packer' Hall of Fame. I think he should go into the Packers' Hall of Fame before he goes into Canton."

Holmgren's induction on July 21 would be the first step in reaching that memorable moment. Then by next summer, Favre could be one of the first inductees into the new Packers' Hall of Fame, which is moving out of the basement of Lambeau Field.

Finally, come kickoff 2014, Favre could join the ring of honor and have his number retired alongside Don Hutson, Tony Canadeo, Bart Starr, Ray Nitschke and former teammate Reggie White.

It may not have been the regime that ousted him to have extended the olive branch - it's not their job to worry about the past, but to keep focused on the future - but the Packers did take the first step in sewing up the wounds.

Now it's up to Favre to be the old gunslinger again, and show no fear.

It's just a few boos, Brett. Get over it and come on home.

Matt Wellens can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252.



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