Favre’s Greatness: In Their Own Words

Aaron Rodgers, Mason Crosby, Dom Capers and others talk about Brett Favre's big night.

Brett Favre, the gunslinging, rocket-armed, tough-as-nails quarterback, helped turn the NFL’s Siberia back into Titletown.

On Thursday night, he will return to Lambeau Field — “The House That Favre Rebuilt” — for what coach Mike McCarthy rightly called a “once-in-a-lifetime event.”

About nine months before Favre’s presumed induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Packers at halftime of their game against the Bears will unveil Favre’s name on the stadium facade alongside the short list of players whose numbers have been retired. In what should be a photo-op for the ages, Favre will be joined by the legendary Bart Starr and reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers.

“It will be a great day for all Packer fans,” Rodgers said on Tuesday.

Of the current Packers roster, only Rodgers, receiver James Jones and kicker Mason Crosby played with Favre. Offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett was a running back early in Favre’s career and running backs coach at the end of his career. Quarterbacks/receivers coach Alex Van Pelt started at quarterback for Buffalo against Favre in 1997. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers and defensive line coach Mike Trgovac coached against Favre.

Here’s what they had to say on Tuesday:

Rodgers: “It was fun to be around him. He brings a lot of energy to practice, enthusiasm. He loved the game, loved being around it, especially loved playing on Sundays, and always brought great energy to the field. But he was a prankster, as well. You know, he was part of putting my helmet on the table and everybody signed it and I had to go down to practice, with, you know, everybody had signed it, including myself on my own helmet.”

Crosby: “I watched him growing up — watched him play a lot of games. To be able to come in as a rookie and my first game in my career kicked the game-winner and just all the experiences, that was a wild year. We had a good team — didn’t end the way we wanted it to — but he did some Brett Favre things. He made things happen, extended plays. I remember the Seattle game in the playoffs and he was falling, stumbling and he pitched the ball off to Donald Lee. Just stuff like that. From watching him on TV at the beginning of his career to playing with him that year, he was always having fun, playing the game like he’s on the schoolyard and having a good time. It was cool. It was a great experience. It’s awesome that he’s part of this organization and his number’s going to be forever enshrined in the stadium.”

Bennett: “It’s always rare when you get an opportunity to play with a special player like that, a guy that inspires you. It was unique. It was unique. I feel truly blessed for having an opportunity to play with a teammate like that who gives you an opportunity to make plays. You go back and you look, he was the ultimate ironman. He always showed up. That’s a big part of playing in the National Football League. Coming in and getting it done on a day-to-day basis. That was Brett. One of the ultimate playmakers. ... We always talk about it takes 11 guys but he certainly is one of those guys that’s a spark plug and gets everyone going and makes guys around him better. That’s really the bottom line. He got 10 other guys to pull in the same direction.”

Trgovac: “His competitiveness, his love for the game. When I was here in 1999 (as an assistant coach), he was a competitive guy in the games and even on the practice field — very similar to Aaron. I’ve been very fortunate to be around those two guys and see two guys that are going to be going places — one’s already going somewhere and the other one’s on his way. Seeing guys that do it the right way and their natural competitiveness. Having coached against him several times, you knew you had to bring your A-game.”

Van Pelt: “Just his competitive nature, his competitive spirit. He was going to give you everything he had and battle to the very end. He made throws that guys couldn’t make, running around, doing things in an unorthodox manner. He was fun to watch, obviously, and had a heck of a career. It’s good to see him go up on the wall.”

Capers: “When you played against him, he’d make throws that nobody else could make. He dictated how you had to play. I had the good fortune of having Brett — I was the head coach of the NFC team in the Pro Bowl and Brett was my quarterback, so I had a chance to spend the week around him. I grew to appreciate his competitiveness. In the Pro Bowl many times, some guys will go over there to relax and have a good time. Brett was still competing and wanting to win the game. That’s the thing that stood out in my mind. The great ones, it doesn’t make any difference when they’re playing. They want to go out and win every time they go out. I just felt and sensed his intensity and competitiveness when I had him in the Pro Bowl.”

Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.

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