Pack faith­ful wel­comes Favre home

SundayXtra - - SPORTS - By Ge­naro C. Ar­mas

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.

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