When Brett Favre is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 6, it will not be his lifelong dream coming true.
That’s because Favre never dared dream that big.
“I assume that all kids growing up dream of playing Major League Baseball, professional basketball or NFL football,” Favre said in a national conference call on Tuesday morning. “It’s a good thing that it worked out for me because I never dreamed, ‘If it doesn’t work out, I’ll do this.’ I was a daydreamer, I was a devoted hard worker to my dreams. I was determined that I was going to be Roger Staubach someday and I was going to play for the Dallas Cowboys and nothing was going to stop me.”
Nothing did stop Favre, especially not enemy defenders. Favre rewrote the NFL record book, including an unprecedented and perhaps unbreakable 297 consecutive starts.
“I never, never dreamed of Pro Bowls, MVPs, quite frankly games, how many I would play — in other words, statistical stuff and the Hall of Fame,” Favre continued. “I never dreamed of that. I just dreamed to play. So, I can sit here and honestly say that every dream I had as a child — day dream, night dream, it didn’t matter — came true. And for that, I’m forever thankful. I mean, Wow! Who can say that?”
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Even though he won his third consecutive MVP award following his seventh season, he said it wasn’t until much deeper into his career — perhaps Year 12, he thought — when the Hall of Fame became a consideration.
“When the Hall of Fame became on my radar, I don’t know,” he said. “I would say someone had to mention it. I really never thought about it because what I was doing is I was pinching myself every day like, ‘Man, this is pretty cool.’ And it was funny because good things came by not seeking them, if that makes any sense. I just went out and played and had a blast and they’d say, ‘Hey, you’re in a Pro Bowl’ and I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s cool.’ Or ‘You’re the MVP of the league,’ and I’m like, ‘Wow, you’ve got to be kidding me.’”
Of course, Favre’s road to Canton, where he will become the 24th member of the Packers and the 25th quarterback in the Hall of Fame, almost never got out of Atlanta. During the East-West Shrine Game following his senior season at Southern Mississippi, Favre sustained a hip injury. The diagnosis wasavascular necrosis, a condition similar to the one that ruined running back Bo Jackson’s career. Avascular necrosis is the death of bone tissue due to a lack of blood supply. Some teams, such as Seattle, Favre said, wouldn’t consider drafting him. Atlanta did, early in the second round of the 1991 draft. Ron Wolf was hired as the Packers’ general manager late in the 1991 season. His first draft was in 1992, and he sent Green Bay’s first-round pick to Atlanta to acquire Favre.
Favre, however, didn’t pass the Packers’ physical, which could have nixed the trade. But Wolf stepped in and overruled the medical staff.
“He said, and I’m not quoting him on this, but more or less, I’ll take whatever good years that he can possibly give us,” Favre recalled. “The doctors said he could play five or seven (years) — then again, he may not. And that’s not taking into account how you play on the field. The debt of gratitude (to Wolf), with or without that scenario, is forever payable. I’ve told Ron that over and over again. In fact, had a conversation with him last night. We’re both always so thankful to each other. You’d think we’d get over that at some point. It’s really a wonderful story. In his case, sticking your neck out there at a time when you just got a new job at a historic and traditional franchise like the Packers. Boy, what a gamble. I’m forever thankful for that and I know he has said over and over to me how thankful he is that it worked out, obviously.”
Bill Huber is publisher of 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 www.twitter.com/PackerReport.