Ron Wolf Q&A

Former Packers general manager offers thoughts on Favre, Aaron Rodgers, and how he has handled his own retirement

Former Packers general manager Ron Wolf was at Packers Fan Fest today at Lambeau Field. He offered his thoughts on retired quarterback Brett Favre:

Q: What do you know about Aaron Rodgers?
Ron Wolf:
I don't really know Aaron Rodgers well enough to comment. I do know that he stepped in and played exceptionally well in a very key game in Dallas. The Packers didn't win, but he did very well. He's been at the forefront collegiately. He's met every test a person is supposed to meet to play that position, but I don't know him well enough to comment on his overall abilities. It would be foolish for me to do so.

Q: How tough will it be for Rodgers to follow a legend, like Favre?
Ron Wolf:
I'm sure the Packers are glad to be in a position like that to have a player the caliber of Aaron Rodgers to step in and play. Look at the quarterbacks some of these teams have right now. It's ridiculous. And they're raising ticket prices. It's even more ridiculous.

Q: If you hadn't traded for Brett Favre, would have been the same player with a different team? Did Mike Holmgren help catipult Favre?
Ron Wolf:
I think he is a great player. I think he would have been successful no matter where he would have gone. However, it certainly benefits someone to have a person the caliber of Mike Holmgren, and Steve Mariucci, Andy Reid, Jon Gruden ... those are pretty good teachers. I'm sure by the process of osmosis he learned a lot.

Somebody from New York asked me if the Jets had taken him (in the draft) would he have enjoyed the same type of success? I said that's an interesting question because he would not have had that caliber of an assistant, but his overall ability would have enabled him to be successful no matter where he played in spite of what happened in Georgia.

Q: Was there ever a point early in Favre's career that you and Mike Holmgren wanted to go in a different direction at quarterback because of Favre's inconsistency?
Ron Wolf:
I think there probably in coaches meetings there were talks like that, but it never got to me. To answer your question, no. I don't recall the year, but the year was when Brett Favre was out there in free agency. We were practicing for some reason in Arizona. I went out to Arizona and (Mark) Brunell and (Ty) Detmer were the two quarterbacks out there. As soon as that practice was over, I called Mike Reinfeldt and said, 'I don't care whatever it is, let's make sure that we sign Brett Favre. Whatever it costs, just sign him.' We did, and that was it. That's how much better he was than those two guys is what I'm saying.

Q: What's the story behind the story about Favre failing his physical when he was traded by Atlanta to Green Bay in 1992 for a first-round draft pick. Did the trade almost fall through because of the failed physical?
Ron Wolf:
That's been pushed a little bit. The story was that he didn't really fail the physical (and) that sounds good, but what happened is the doctors said he could play, but maybe only three or four years (because of a hip injury). They wanted to send him back, but that was good enough for me. Guess what? He played 16.

After we examined everything, talked with the orthopedic surgeon, talked with Dr. (Pat) McKenzie and explained what the deal was, it was very simple. He didn't really fail the physical.

Q: Is there any advice that you can give to Favre on how to handle retirement and resist the temptation to return to football?
Ron Wolf:
I had hit my wall (in 2001) and I realized it was all over for me. Physically, Brett can still play the game. It's very, very obvious. He was voted in as the starting quarterback in the Pro Bowl. You don't go from the starting quarterback in the Pro Bowl to 'NGE' Not Good Enough in the offseason. Mine was different. I never had any of those problems. I'm not keyed up on Sunday to watch the NFL play, and I don't watch the NFL play that much. I do watch the Packers when they're on. I'm in the hotbed of the AFC North and NFC East. That's what we get there. We don't get much of the Green Bay Packers. I'm sure he'll have a withdrawal.

I'm doing things I never did before. I spent most of my time in a dark room watching film. That's what I did. Suddenly there's a whole new world out there. There was a war fought - the Vietnam War. I didn't know anything about that, and I'm serious. Now I'm reading about these things. I'm taking trips. We travel four times a year, go out of the country three of those four times. See things I never thought I would see, or never thought I would do. It's enjoyable doing it.

Everyone says, 'You have to have an office. You have to have some place to go.' Baloney. You don't have to have any place to go. Just go. Find out how great it is to be an American. That's a thrill. You go see the Panama Canal and see that Yankee ingenuity. It makes you proud. I spend half of my time in Annapolis, MD. You've got the Naval Academy right there. You've got those kids, I mean they're fired up. They're proud of their country. They're proud to defend their country. All that is great. You get around that atmosphere. You're around Washington, DC. We've got a presidential election coming up. This is a wonderful, wonderful country. All you have to do is travel. I just got back from Egypt. Just travel and see how enjoyable it is to come back to the stars and stripes.

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