It was a day like no other in Green Bay. A teary-eyed Brett Favre sat in the Lambeau Field press room to bid farewell to a storied 17 year career. For the NFL great who tops record books with 5,377 completions, 442 touchdown passes and 61,665 passing yards, it surely seemed like the end. However, just five months later, number four was back out on the practice field with that March day seemingly a distant memory.
“That seems like so long ago,” said Favre. “It seems like a dream.”
But as the trade rumors continued to escalate and the Packers’ committment to Favre’s three-year understudy Aaron Rodgers continued to grow, a return to football today became a relief.
“There’s been a lot of ups and downs not only the last week but the last couple of months. I think everyone was kind of ready to just get on to football,” said Favre. “I was overly excited as I started practicing.”
Favre’s arrival was a favorable sight for those on the field and in the stands, but the quarterback knows he has some catching up to do.
“For me, I’m a few weeks behind as far as practice is concerned. I’m also 38 yrs old so I’m a little bit behind there too,” said Favre. “My arm feels fine. It will be tired tomorrow, it will be sore because there’s no substitute for actually getting in a game-type situation, putting the pads on,” he said.
Although Favre has always been known to throw hand-swelling bullets to his receivers, there’s no question his targets are excited to be playing with the ole’ gunslinger.
“I was excited when I first saw him because I never thought I would be playing with him,” said Jerricho Cotchery. “We’re very fortunate to be able to have this opportunity for him to come to us. Hopefully we can do some great things.”
Whether or not Gang Green can do “great things” remains to be seen, but there is no doubt Favre’s arrival has filled Weeb Ewbank Hall with a energetic vibe not felt in decades. After opening training camp with a less than impressive quarterback battle between Kellen Clemens and Chad Pennington, Favre’s arrival brought out a record 10,500 fans to Hofstra today. On a simmering summer day, the players fed off the crowd’s excitement.
“At this point and time in camp everyone is like, ‘it’s hot out here.’ As soon as we step out here the stands are filled. It creates a new energy for the team,” said Cotchery. “Practice went by so fast today just off the excitement we got off of the fans.”
That excitement is sure to permeate through Giants Stadium in 2008 as Gang Green will hope to ride Favre’s arm back to the playoffs. Favre’s arrival has come at a especially meaningful time for Gang Green, with the defending super bowl champion Giants stealing the spotlight in New York. Not to mention, Favre surely puts more fear into the rival Patriots than Clemens or Pennington ever did. Favre will bring leadership off the field and a multitude of options on it. With Favre leading the reins, that dink-and-dunk offense that has frustrated Jets fans for so many years will become a thing of the past.
The Jets have become relevant around the NFL again and will no doubt be an exciting team to watch with Favre at the helm.