Pack faithful welcomes Favre home
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Brett Favre headed up the Lambeau Field tunnel, a path that he had walked dozens of times.
He turned left at the end, and then walked through a set of double doors. The Green Bay Packers’ locker-room was just down the hall on the right.
And that’s when it finally it him. He was back at his football home.
The three-time MVP quarterback was being inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame on Saturday night, a ceremony inside Lambeau Field that was to also include the retirement of his No. 4 jersey. It was the first time in the franchise’s storied history that a player was to receive both honours at the same time.
“It was like I never left. It was a great feeling. It was kind of weird because I had been here for a couple of hours and just walked off of Lambeau,” Favre said before the ceremony. “It’s kind of funny how things are triggered. And then it was kind of a sigh of relief almost.”
It was a moment that some Packers fans thought would never come, not after the “will he- or-won’t he retire” drama that marked the end of his 16-year tenure in Titletown. He was traded to the New York Jets in 2008, then played two more seasons with division rival Minnesota starting in 2009 before calling it quits for good.
“I’d much rather go out that tunnel right there,” Favre told frenzied fans on the field before the ceremony, pointing to the home tunnel. He played two games at Lambeau as a visitor with Minnesota.
Now a reconciliation that has been years in the making is finally complete. Fans, many of them wearing No. 4 jerseys, welcomed Favre back as if he never left. He signed autographs, and caught up with old friends.
Tailgaters milled around parking lots as if they were getting ready for a Bears game. More than 67,000 people were expected to watch the ceremony on video boards inside the stadium bowl.
Favre said he would try not to get emotional on Saturday night. He was fightixng back tears by the time he was addressing fans on the field by microphone on a sticky afternoon. Chants of “MVP! MVP! MVP!” ringed the stadium. “One more year,” yelled some in the crowd.
“All I can say is, ‘Wow.’ This is absolutely amazing,” Favre said.
—The Associated Press
Former Packers great Brett Favre waves to fans as he walks onto Lambeau Field.