Brett Favre played 16 seasons for the Green Bay Packers and led the team to an NFL title in Super Bowl XXXI, so naturally one has to wonder when his No. 4 will be retired at Lambeau Field.
Apparently, it won’t be this year, because he’s afraid that fans will boo him.
While team president Mark Murphy said Thursday that Brett Favre could “possibly” return to Lambeau Field for a game this season, the Green Bay Packers don’t expect to retire the legendary quarterback’s No. 4 this year. …
And at least part of the reason is Favre’s concern and the team’s concern about how he will be received by Packers fans in the wake of his 2008 departure.
“I don’t anticipate having him retire a number this season, in a game this year,” Murphy said. “We have very good relations, and very good communication, but I don’t anticipate that this year.” …
Last month, ESPNWisconsin’s Mark Chmura, Favre’s longtime friend and teammate, said that he was told by an NFL source that Favre backed out of coming to Lambeau Field last year for fear of being booed. Another source close to Favre said it was the Nov. 4 game against the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football that Favre’s camp and the Packers were talking about for his return.
On Thursday, Murphy wouldn’t confirm that the Bears game had been the game under consideration, but he did acknowledge that Favre is worried about being booed.
“That is an issue. He doesn’t want it, and neither do we,” Murphy said. “He wouldn’t want to come back and get booed. You can’t control 80,750 people … [but] I really think as time goes on, every year that passes, it’s less likely that he would get booed, but that is an issue.”
Favre announced his retirement in March 2008 — after his announcement, the team said it planned to retire his number that season — but quickly backtracked and asked to play on in Green Bay. With Aaron Rodgers ready to go, the Packers instead traded Favre to the New York Jets, where he played one middling the season before finishing his career with the Minnesota Vikings, one of the Packers’ chief rivals.
Packers fans have turned on their heroes previously, Wilde notes:
Last season, after signing a ceremonial one-day contract with the Packers, kicker Ryan Longwell returned to the stadium and was introduced to the crowd at one point. He was booed by many of the fans in attendance, and his greatest transgression – other than signing with the rival Minnesota Vikings as a free agent in 2006 – was a poorly executed joke about the Twin Cities having better restaurant options than he had at Green Bay, where he’d become the franchise’s all-time leading scorer while kicking for the Packers from 1997 through 2005.