Man of the hour

The thousands of fans packed into the Lambeau Field Atrium on Friday evening for the kickoff to the inaugural Fan Fest were ready for some football. After watching a lengthy video about the team and the stadium Friday evening, the fans entertained themselves with the "Go Pack Go" chant while they waited for the main event.

First, team president Bob Harlan and general manager Ted Thompson made some brief marks. Then former general manager Ron Wolf addressed the throng, followed by the legendary Bart Starr.

When master of ceremonies Larry McCarren finally got around to introducing the man of the hour, it sounded like Brett Favre had just thrown a touchdown pass.

The star of Friday's Fan Fest was Favre, who was scheduled to appear Saturday but whose surprise appearance Friday night seemed the worst-kept secret in Green Bay. Favre answered questions from McCarren for about five minutes one day after news broke that the veteran quarterback planned on playing at least one more season.

Before Favre could answer questions, though, he had to wait for the fans, who gave him a one-minute standing ovation. Looking genuinely touched, Favre managed a tip of his cap and an aw-shucks grin as he waited for the commotion to quiet down.

The fans stayed quiet for just a moment, though. McCarren's first question to Favre: "Let me hear it from your lips. Are you coming back for another season?"

Favre's reply was a simple "Yes, I am," and again the green-and-gold clad audience erupted in applause and cheering.

There was plenty of consternation concerning Favre's playing career in the last couple months. Favre ended last season on the lowest of notes, throwing four interceptions in a playoff loss to Minnesota. Football matters, however, were the least of Favre's worries. His wife, Deanna, was diagnosed with breast cancer in October, and her treatments have continued throughout the off-season.

"I never said I was not playing," Favre said. "There are obviously just some issues that I had to deal with, my family had to deal with. I wanted to get some time away to think about it. I love to play the game (and) still feel like I can play at a high level. But there were other issues, not just me, that I had to deal with."

With Deanna winning her battle — Favre said she completed her radiation treatments last week — the decision to return for the 2005 season was easy, Favre said.

"She's got her energy back," Favre said. "Since she was done with her treatment, she goes, ‘I'd like for us to go back and have a season where we can just enjoy football.' I agree."


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