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Saturday, July 19, 2008
Favre keeps commitment to former center

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
 
 AP Photo/Mike Roemer
 Brett Favre, right, jokes with Frank Winters during a news conference before the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame induction banquet on Saturday.

GREEN BAY, WIS. -- On this weekend, at least, Brett Favre kept his word.

He walked into a media auditorium with one of his best friends, former Green Bay Packers center Frank Winters, at about 4:15 p.m. central time. The two posed briefly for pictures. Favre broke the obvious tension by slapping Winters in the gut.

Dressed up -- for him -- in a gray suit and a button-down shirt (no tie), Favre walked into the hornet's nest without hesitation. He might have reversed his decision on retirement, but Favre kept his commitment Saturday to introduce Winters here at the annual Packers Hall of Fame induction.

Favre appeared for about three minutes at a pre-event news conference, telling a few stories about Winters and saying he was "honored" to be at the event. He did not take questions -- a team spokesman said Favre did not want to detract from the festivities -- and isn't expected to address his month-long standoff with the team.

"A lot of people around the NFL and the United States were probably thinking Brett wouldn't show up today," Winters said. "But I knew deep down inside that he would. He told me he would be here."

Favre and Winters first met in 1992, when Favre showed up in Green Bay as a 252-pound quarterback. Winters asked him if he was a linebacker.

"From that point on," Favre said, "we were inseparable. What an unlikely friendship: Union City, New Jersey, and Kiln, Mississippi. I guess the old saying about opposites attract is true."

Favre said tonight's induction is part of the Packers mystique.

"That's the thing about Green Bay," Favre said. "It's a special place. There is a lot of tradition. You think of the Packers, all these great names, and for Frank to be honored, it's a special thing."

Favre is scheduled to make a more formal speech later this evening during the banquet, where he and his wife, Deanna, will sit at Winters' table. Numerous members of the Packers' organization are also scheduled to be in attendance, including coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson, but there have been no indications of a meeting or any other event that could bring resolution to Favre's situation.

Tonight's ceremony, which is closed to the media, has been sold out for months. The attendees are mostly friends of the organization, and Favre should be able to spend most of the evening under the radar.

"He told me he was going to be here and I believed him," Winters said. "I told him if he didn't want to come, it would be all right. I didn't want him to be harassed and make it a big deal. But he said no, it was all right."

Winters said he speaks to Favre regularly but never sensed that tonight's event would be awkward for him.

"You've got to remember," Winters said, "I asked him a long time ago, before this came about," Winters said. "Our friendship goes back a long time."

"Basically, when I talk to Brett now it's basically about what's going on with the kids. We don't really talk much football. I don't think it's awkward. I'm sure there are a lot of people who would like to ask him a lot of questions. But it's a special night for a couple of guys and I'm just going to keep it at that."