I found the jersey yesterday morning carefully tucked into our bin of Packer paraphernalia. Tiny and faded, the single number on its front side looked worn.
The jersey’s previous outing to Lambeau Field nearly proved to be its final; we hot glued it to poster board and brought it with us to the 2008 NFC Championship game, Brett Favre’s final game as a Packer.
The Jumbo-tron offered an icy view of my then-15-year old son holding the sign, which read “Lifelong Favre fan, born 12-11-92.”
Young Packer fans like my son knew only one quarterback; Favre played for the Packers for 16 years, from 1992 to 2007.
After the disappointing loss to the New York Giants that year, I tucked the Favre jersey away. It sat out all of the controversy surrounding the fiery athlete after the 2007 season — his brief tenure as a New York Jet and, particularly offensive to many fans, his final run in that awful purple and white Viking gear.
I dug our little jersey out yesterday because I think it’s time for Packer fans to welcome Brett Favre back to Lambeau Field.
Favre’s passion for the game of football is what endeared him to Packer fans and his success on the field restored the city of Green Bay to Titletown.
Of course we all, including the athlete himself, would have liked Favre’s playing career to have wrapped up more gracefully.
But we still have an opportunity to write a classier end to this saga. We can afford to be magnanimous here in Green Bay. We’ve had three iconic quarterbacks — Bart Starr, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.
The next time Brett Favre walks though the Lambeau Field tunnel, let’s meet him halfway.