Q: Do you recall the circumstances that led to your signing with Green Bay on April 28, 1994? Do you remember what you did with that $5,000 signing bonus? (Buy a car, etc?) Did you stay in Green Bay that spring and summer? What was that like? (This was before you met Brenda, right?)
Warner: "I recall that I was contacted after the draft by four or five teams (Cinn, San Diego, Tampa, ?) and that I felt that Green Bay was the best situation and the most money. They were willing to pay me $5000 and give me a two-year contract (which obviously means nothing - but it sounded good). I knew going in that the competition would be stiff, but I also knew that I was the only other QB invited to camp, whereas the other teams were inviting two or three others. I felt this way that I could at least get an opportunity and if someone got injured I would have a good shot. Or they could keep me on the practice squad for I knew they wouldn't keep those three QB's together very long.
So really I think it was the best situation I could ask for other than the fact that I never got any reps and I never played in a preseason game. I spent the bonus money on a down payment for a vehicle - my first - a Packer Green GMC Jimmy. I did not stay in Green Bay for the summer just the mini-camps and early reporting time (they didn't ask me to workout in the summer, because I don't think they had plans to keep me very long). I had already met Brenda and we were dating at the time. She even came to visist me at the beginning of TC. A quick story - she was in the stands and heard a man ask another man who #12 was ( that was the # I had), other man leaned over and said don't worry about it he won't be here very long. She neglected to tell me that until after I got cut, she didn't think it would keep my spirits up."
Q: Was it intimidating to be on the practice field with the competition at quarterback? Brett Favre was on the rise. Ty Detmer was just a few years removed from winning the Heisman. And Mark Brunell was a Rose Bowl MVP at Washington.
Warner: "The whole NFL exp. was intimidating at the beginning. I didn't know if I belonged just like most rookies go through. But, the longer I was there the more like I felt that I belonged. I think it was a blessing to be there with the other 3 QB's , because I saw how good they were and felt that I fit right in, it was a confidence builder in the fact that I knew I couild play at that level and helped me not to give up. I just kept hoping for a better situation. The other three guys and Mooch (Steve Mariucci) made it a fun exp. and I felt like I belonged. WE had fun during the short stay. I have nothing but the utmost respect for all four of those guys."
Q: What do you remember about Brett Favre? What was he like? Did he really call you "Pop" or "Potsie" or "Chachi?" Did you have to carry Favre's helmet or do any other rookie hazing stuff? Warner: "All I remember about Brett is that he was a down home, fun-loving guy. He enjoyed what he was doing and made it fun for everyone around him. His was just on the upswing of his career and I could tell at that time that he would be one of the best QB's in the league. He had all the talent, but he also had all the intangibles - which of course everyone knows now. Yes , he did call me "pop" and I think Mooch called me "chachi" , all in good fun no offense intended or taken. Mike Holmgren didn't allow any rookie hazing, but I may have had to carry a helmet or fetch some drinks but nothing to difficult."
Q: Do you have any recollections of the incident Favre talks about where you didn't want to run a play during a team scrimmage?
Warner: "I'm sure that it probably happened early on in my stint, because Mooch has mentioned it also, but I don't remember it. Sorry."
Q: Do you remember anything about being cut by the Packers? Who told you or how were you told? Did you just pack up and drive back to Iowa? Did you think it was over for you as far as the NFL?
Warner: "I remember thinking that it was going to happen. I think I told Brenda every night that it might be the next day, but that call came one morning before practice. They called me down stairs and one of the player personnel guys let me know that I had been cut. Simple, easy and to the point. Turned in my playbook and packed up my car. My roommate was Bill Schroeder (Schrades), and I went up and wished him well and was on my way. I was able to keep the shoes I wore in training camp, so my exp. was a constant reminder for the next few years in all my flag football games, bec. I always wore the ugly green nikes that didn't match anything. I def. didn't think it was over. I was hoping that one of the other teams that had contacted me after the draft would call, but of course, no one did and you know the rest of the story."
"I did get a call within a couple of days from Mooch, bec. they didn't even tell him they were releasing me and he was a little upset that he couldn't say goodbye. Which was a nice gesture. I still sit and talk with Ty and Mark any chance that I get, and I think that Mark and I will spend more time together in the future. We have a lot of the same interests and beliefs."
Q: Does a part of you want to play well Sunday to show the Packers that hey, you missed out on something good by cutting me?
Warner: "I have absolutely no hard feelings and nothing to prove to anybody from the Packers. They gave me a shot, I wasn't ready and I am the most blessed man in the world to be where I am right now. I will tell you that if I didn't end up in STL that the next best place would have been Green Bay. It is a great atmosphere and they love their football. If I would have made the team, I would still be on the bench and nobody would know a thing about me - they have one of the best QB's to ever play the game and I don't think he has missed a game since I left, so in a way I am glad I didn't make there."
Q: What do you think of Brett Favre as a quarterback? What do you like about his game? Warner: "I think Brett is one of the best to ever play the game. He has the intangibles that I have only seen in a few QB's, that presence that you can't describe, but you know that you want him leading you into battle. You know that he is going to give everything that he has and he makes you want to do the same. He is a fierce competitor and uniquely gifted in his abilities. There is not much not to like about his game, he is the one QB that I like to watch if I get a chance, he has such a flair for the dramatics which only a few have." Q: Have you established any kind of relationship with him since you've been in the NFL? If so, what kind of a person is he?
Warner: "Unfortunately, I haven't seen him or talked with him since I was released. I have been waiting for the chance to do so and look forward to seeing him. I am sure that he will greet me very affectionately ('pop'/'chachi')."
Q: Do you look forward to this matchup with Favre? In the entire history of the NFL there has never been a game that features two QBs with 5 MVP titles between them. Until now.
Warner: "I look forward to playing in this playoff game, not to compete against Favre, but to move one step closer to the Super Bowl. This isn't about two guys, but about two teams (good) teams and a chance to move one step closer. That is what excites me about this game. As much as I like to watch Brett play I hope I don't see too much excitement from him this weekend."
Q: Generally, what do the Packers do on defense? Do they play a lot of man? Zone? Mix coverages? Do they blitz a lot?
Warner: "The Packers really do a great job of using a variety of different coverages. They play man and zone, they run both man blitzes and zone blitzes. So we could see anything. That is the one good thing and bad thing about playing someone different, they have never seen what you do and you are not sure what they are going to do, but that is what the challenge is all about. Should be fun."
Q: Is it more of a challenge for you playing a defense you haven't seen yet? Warner: "I do enjoy playing a different defense. It generates a little more of a challenge, but I think it allows us to have more success, bec. we are a tough team to defend when you only have 7 days to prepare."
Q: How is your throat? Has it been tough not talking for two weeks? Do you have thousands of words and thoughts building up in you that you're dying to get out? Could you go through an entire game with a silent count if you had to?
"The throat is feeling better everyday. It is very difficult not to talk, even more so when we are preparing to play someone and you have a lot of questions to ask. Or when you are practicing and things come up on different plays and you want to discuss it. Hopefully, only a few more days and this will all be over. I do have a lot of thoughts about the events of the last week, but I may never get them out. Too much up ahead to think about."
"Yes, I think that we could go through a whole game with a silent count if we needed to, but I don't believe that is going to be nec."
Hope this was of some help. God Bless and Have a great night.