On Tuesday, ESPN Radio in Wisconsin got a surprise as the Wilde and Tausch show welcomed Hall of Famer and legendary quarterback Brett Favre on the radio. Hosts Jason Wilde and Mark Tauscher — the latter a teammate of Favre’s for eight years with the Green Bay Packers — spoke to Favre at length about a number of topics.
However, one of the more interesting subjects of the interview (which can be heard in its entirety here) is the status of Favre’s relationship with current Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The two spent three years together in Green Bay after Rodgers was drafted in 2005, with some apparent tension arising. In 2008, Favre retired and the Packers (with GM Ted Thompson at the helm) moved on to Rodgers as the quarterback of the future. However, Favre’s un-retirement put Thompson and the team in a tough spot, and he was eventually traded to the New York Jets.
At the time, Favre was obviously on the tail end of his career, while Rodgers was just coming up, and #4 was starting to see himself as a bit of an outcast in Green Bay. He had seen many of his close friends leave the team in recent years: “The place that I was at was I’d seen a lot of guys I was close to go,” Favre said. “Even though I had the most years of anybody on the team, including coaches, I was the odd man out.”
In a sense, this reflects Rodgers’ current situation a bit, with the team releasing Jordy Nelson this offseason and allowing other longtime Packers to leave in recent years. “Moral of this story, if you play long enough it’ll happen to you, too,” Favre said. It is easy to infer from that comment that he recognizes that Rodgers is in a bit of a similar spot now and will be as he moves forward into his late 30s.
As for the relationship between the two quarterbacks, Favre acknowledged that the two were not close when they were in Green Bay together, but also suggested that there is no lingering animosity either way. “When I was 35 and Aaron was up-and-coming, the only thing we had in common (was) we both played quarterback for the same team — that’s it. He was a likable guy ... we talked, we got along.” Really, Favre seemed to think the age difference was the biggest reason for the two not becoming closer: “When you’re 15 years older than a guy, it’s really hard to relate. Doesn’t make you a good or bad guy, that’s just what it is.”
Now that Rodgers is in his mid-30s, it seems he can relate better to the perspective that Favre had when Aaron arrived. In fact, Favre mentioned that the two men spoke on the phone recently: “I was asked about mentoring Aaron or the next guy and I said ‘that’s not my job.’ Aaron said (to me) ‘I get it now.’ There is no clause that says ‘groom the next guy or else.’”
One of the great recent moments for Packers fans was seeing Rodgers, Favre, and Bart Starr together on Thanksgiving night in 2015. That was when Favre returned to Green Bay to be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor. Now, the relationship is to the point where Favre feels comfortable joking around with Rodgers: “We were talking on the phone actually, and that’s not too often ... I told Aaron ‘if I do anything, I’m gonna get you a phone that works.’ That guy may be the worst at returning messages.”
All told, Favre seems to be in a good place. He’s not coaching, and said that he prefers to spend time with his family rather than coaching and breaking down film all the time. But it should also be encouraging for Packers fans to see the relationship between him and his successor in Green Bay improving.