Saturday, February 2, 2013
Favre-Rodgers: 'That was awkward'
By Kevin Seifert
After a long night of writing, I finally got a chance to roll back the DVR and check out the surprise joint appearance of the Green Bay Packers' two most recent starting quarterbacks during the NFL Honors awards show.
Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, who haven't spoken much since Favre's 2008 attempt to return to the Packers, presented the league's Comeback Player of the Year award to Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. The appearance -- and their willingness to joke about that tense time five years ago -- was a sign of a thaw in their relationship. An awkward handshake and hug attempt indicated there is work yet to be done, assuming that was not also part of the script.
Their joint appearance was less tense, if still awkward, for Brett Favre, left, and Aaron Rodgers.
Here's how the funny, if scripted, by-play went:
Rodgers: We're here to present the award for best comeback player.
Favre: You know Aaron, everyone loves when a great player makes a comeback.
Rodgers: Yeah, not always. Sometimes … some people wish that great players would retire and just stay retired.
Favre: Good to see you, Aaron.
Rodgers: You too, man.
As the crowd laughed, Rodgers stuck out his hand. Favre clasped it and seemed ready to hug Rodgers, but neither man knew exactly what to do at that point. After a few moments, Rodgers smiled and said: "That was awkward, uh … ."
(Although their lines were clearly scripted, that moment didn't seem to be. Maybe I'm wrong.)
A lot of you are asking if the joint appearance is a sign that Favre is ready to reconcile with the Packers franchise, retire his number and get involved in its alumni activities. I would guess it is a start. Rodgers and Favre are very different people and unlikely to be close friends, but joking about their past tension tells me the worst is behind them.
Rodgers could serve as an important conduit between Favre and the team, but ultimately the process will involve many more people, including president Mark Murphy and general manager Ted Thompson. It's worth noting that Favre's seat in the audience was next to Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier. We'll see where it goes.