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All is forgiven on Brett Favre's day

7/19/2015
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SC Conversation: Brett Favre

Ed Werder speaks with Brett Favre about being inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame and having his number retired.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Go ahead and hate Brett Favre if you must, but based on the way things looked on Saturday, you'd be in the minority.

After what we saw at Lambeau Field, all seemed to be forgiven.

In the same stadium where Favre was booed the last time he came through the tunnel (as a member of the Minnesota Vikings), the legendary former quarterback was welcomed back into the Green Bay Packers family with a long-lasting standing ovation that included chants of "MVP, MVP, MVP" from the 67,000 fans who showed up to watch his induction into the Packers Hall of Fame and the retirement of his No. 4.

"All I can say is, 'Wow,'" Favre told the crowd before his induction. "This is absolutely amazing. I don't have the words to express the feeling of coming out of that tunnel to this ovation.

"If there were any doubts before, there's not any now. I truly thank you."

It was almost is if the events of 2008 -- when Favre retired, changed his mind and demanded his release so that he could play for one of the Packers’ NFC North rivals -- were forgotten.

"Playing in Lambeau Field, throwing a touchdown in Lambeau Field, certainly running out of the tunnel, there's nothing like it on this earth," Favre said.

Favre even joked about playing in Green Bay as a visiting team member, but in 2009 and 2010 -- when he came here with the Vikings -- it was anything but funny.

"I'll say this, I've also run out of that tunnel," Favre told the crowd while pointing toward the path to the visitors locker room, "and that was scary."

Favre then turned toward the Green Bay tunnel.

"I'd much rather go out of that tunnel right there," Favre said to rousing applause.

Favre swore he wouldn't get emotional during Saturday's events, but that became impossible after the reception he received on the field. Twice he fought back tears, and he did so again during his induction speech.

"I can sit here and tell you thank you until tomorrow," Favre said, "and it wouldn't be enough."

If Favre isn't the greatest Packers player of all time, he surely was treated as such Saturday. Historians could argue that title belongs to Bart Starr, Tony Canadeo, Clarke Hinkle or Don Hutson. But no less an authority than former Packers general manager Ron Wolf, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next month, had his say and if he thinks Favre is the greatest Packer in history, then he probably is.

"I say that because when I came here, I had some people that I was very fortunate to work with who covered the Packers in the '30s, the '40s, the '50s through the Lombardi Era, and they told me the same thing," Wolf said.

That, however, didn't seem to matter to Favre, at least not on this day.

"When people ask me about [my legacy], for me it's pretty simple," Favre said during his induction speech. "I wanted to be remembered as a good man, far from perfect, but a man who loves his teammates, coaches and fans. That was an outstanding ovation today, and I could just feel it. Just an amazing feeling."

Near the end of his speech, Favre summed up Packers' fans this way: "You care here, and that was evident today. I'm truly thankful for that."