More than a decade later, Brett Favre still wishes he would have handled his departure from the Green Bay Packers better than he did.
The retired Packers legendary quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Famer said during a recent interview with ESPN Wisconsin he now understands and appreciates why former general manager Ted Thompson took Aaron Rodgers in the first round of the 2005 NFL draft, a move that signaled the end of Favre’s era in Green Bay. He also admitted he would change how he dealt with the transition if there was such a thing as do-overs.
“If I could go back and do things differently, I certainly would,” Favre said during last week’s appearance on ESPN’s Wilde & Tausch. “When I made the decision to tell Mike McCarthy that I would retire, I was probably a month, month-and-a-half removed (from the season). It was before the draft. I always make this (comparison) — and maybe it makes sense to me and not to others — but if you think back to when you were in grade school, you couldn’t wait to get out of school for the summer. But by the end of the summer, you were kind of ready to go back to school. And that is kind of the way it was with football. And the older I got, the tougher it got to get re-invigorated and excited about it.”
Favre’s self-reflection comes less than a month after the Packers pulled off a surprise move in the 2020 NFL draft and traded up to select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love in the first round. The move has drawn some comparison to Favre’s own situation given Rodgers is about the same age and still has multiple seasons left on his current contract.
“I would much rather have not said anything and just bought a little time,” Favre continued. “Of course, everyone knew by that time I couldn’t make up my mind two months removed from the season anyway. We had been down that road before. But I knew, and I have no ill feelings about this, but I knew they were sort of ready to go in a different direction. And at some point you’ve got to make that transition, and Ted felt like that was probably the best time. It turned out to be a great move. And I’d tell Ted that to his face right now.
It was a great move drafting Aaron Rodgers, and it was a great time to make that transition. And it’s worked out well for them. The jury is out whether or not the same will happen with Jordan and his transition. We will see.”
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Favre Points to Difference Between Rodgers & Love Picks
Like most people, Favre recognizes the similarities between the Packers’ decisions to draft Rodgers and Love while having a tenured quarterback under contract, but the three-time NFL MVP was also quick to note the reason why he believes their timing was way off this time.
“I think when I look at this situation with Aaron and my situation, yes, they’re very, very similar. But there is a big difference: They were several plays away from the Super Bowl this year. When we drafted Aaron, that wasn’t the case,” Favre said. “So that made more sense.”
Rodgers — who turns 37 next December — continued to play at a high level during the 2019 season and has four more years left on his contract heading into 2020, but Love’s selection could suggest the Packers are looking to make a change before then. If Rodgers finishes out his current deal and does not miss significant time with injuries, Love will have spent his first four NFL seasons as a backup and would be difficult to justify signing to a large contract.
At the same time, Rodgers’ contract also gives the Packers the option to move on from him after the 2021 season if they felt Love was ready to take the reins. Not only would it end up saving them several million in cap space, but it would also make for a more practical path forward for their first-round investment. Though, if Rodgers is winning, it would be hard to say stop.