Many fences need to be mended before Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers officially kiss and make up.
Aaron Rodgers has done his part.
Saturday’s joint appearance at the NFL Honors show was a giant first step in Star Quarterbacks Past and Present forging a relationship following the ugly and bitter divorce between Favre and the franchise following Favre’s retirement-unretirement-trade between the end of the 2007 season and the start of training camp in 2008.
“As the face of the franchise now, (it's) a role that I take very seriously. I have the responsibility and enjoy having the opportunity to represent my team,” Rodgers said on his weekly radio show with Jason Wilde at ESPNMilwaukee.com on Tuesday. “I think it's important to realize that it is time to probably time to move forward.”
A week before the NFL Honors show, producers broached to Rodgers the possibility that he and Favre present the Comebacker Player of the Year Award.
“They pitched to me this idea of presenting with Brett, just to see how I would feel about it,” Rodgers said. “And I thought about it for a little bit, but I really felt strongly that it was going to be a good thing for both of us and for Packer Nation.”
The show gave Rodgers and Favre reason to talk and thaw an icy relationship. Following the trade, the two hadn’t talked other than after Packers-Vikings matchups in 2009 and 2010.
“It was good to be able to talk to Brett on the phone and then spend some time with him,” Rodgers said.
“Brett is two years removed from the game, and he’s going to be obviously going to be in the Packers Hall of Fame, he’ll get his number retired and will be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the next few years. It’s important, I think, to make sure that he’s recognized for all the accomplishments he’s achieved in our organization. He’s very dear to many of our fans still and the things he’s done on the field for the Packers, you can never take that away. As the face of the franchise, I felt like it was important that I take a leadership role in that. I thought it was good timing to just let the fans know, let Brett know, ‘Let’s move forward. Let’s heal things up and let’s move forward.’”
During the show, the two exchange some scripted banter before what appeared to be an aborted hug.
Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre presented the Comeback Player award to Peyton Manning. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
“That was awkward,” Rodgers said on the show.
It wasn’t awkward, though, Favre said during NFL Network's pregame show on Sunday and Rodgers said on Tuesday.
“It wasn’t awkward,” Favre said. “We had had some laughs prior to going out. Aaron’s had up to this point an unbelievable career, (that) goes without saying. I’m proud of what I’ve done. There isn’t (any) ill feelings. There isn’t. There might be from other people. That was a way of kind of (a way to) squash it all.”
Said Rodgers on Tuesday: “I really had a good time seeing him and getting to talk to him and catch up and there was nothing awkward about that moment for the two of us. We had talked on the phone and we had also spent time before the show, a good amount of time talking, talking about the script and catching up. So that moment, a lot of people have written stuff about (how) it was an awkward moment. (But) that’s kind of the joke in that statement. There wasn’t a lot of awkwardness in that moment for Brett and I. I hope the fans enjoyed it and got a little laugh out of the stuff.”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.