We wanted to bring you Brett Favre’s interview on HBO with Joe Buck in full. Thanks to Judd who transcribed it and passed it along.
A “highlight package” of Favre’s retirement from the Packers in March 2008 and then everything that has happened since sparked this response.
“The piece I was watching back there was kind of painful. It was hard to watch. I know people are tired of it. As we talked prior to the show, my intentions are not to … although it’s good for you, create controversy. The last three months you’re going, ‘stir it, stir it.’ It is what it is. It is tough. I haven’t watched anything. Some of those things that you had in your piece I haven’t seen. I did see satellite trucks outside our gate. I was sneaking out a back gate, which they didn’t know. It’s crazy, it really is. But I try not to pay attention to it.”
Q. Do you plan on playing in the NFL next season?
A. “Maybe. I am considering it.”
Q. Have you had surgery performed on your passing arm?
A. “About 2 1/2 weeks ago I had surgery. Dr. [James] Andrews did the surgery and he said more or less, ‘Four, five weeks you should know if it was completely successful.’ I can throw and I could throw before the surgery. But I couldn’t throw … and that’s what happened to me late in the year. I would throw it there and it would go there. Certain throws hurt, I’d have pain in my neck and down my arm. When I left after the final game last year with the Jets I said, ‘I’m not going to …’ I knew I needed surgery and I didn’t want to have it and I ended up having it. If it feels better, I’m rehabbing, doing what I need to do to get it back in shape. Have talked with the Vikings. Nothing other than, ‘Are you interested?’ Vice versa. I’ve had the procedure, which they know and it’s more or less how my arm feels and we’ll go from there.”
Q. Have you met with members of the Vikings coaching staff?
A. “Not true. I met with their trainer [on Sunday] and all it was about was to go through some exercises that could help with the rehab. That was it. Different stretching and band work.”
Q. Is Minnesota the only team on your radar?
A. “That’s all I’ve talked to. It makes perfect sense as far as coming back because it’s an offense that I ran for 16 years. I could teach the offense. It was tough going to New York last year because I was two weeks late, it was a totally new offense for me and I thought, ‘This won’t be too bad.’ And [Jets offensive coordinator] Brian Schottenheimer and [coach Eric] Mangini and those guys were great with me because we condensed it down to where I could at least call the plays. But it was like learning a foreign language.”
Q. What would it mean to have a star running back like Adrian Peterson?
A. “It’s like the terminology with the offense. It makes a lot of sense because the pieces are in place. They do have a great running back, they have a great running game. If I go there, I mean there’s no guarantees. We all know that. I went through that last year with New York. I think every player should think that he’s a difference maker. I think you have to believe that. I think in that situation understanding what is expected of you, knowing your team, knowing that as long as we can run the ball and complete passes when needed we should be pretty good.”
Q. What needs to happen for you to sign with the Vikings?
A. “I think first and foremost, I don’t think you can go past anything more than the arm. If that’s not up to par, and it’s not up to par when the time comes, then I can’t play. I went through it last year and I’ve gutted it out or whatever but it affected me and it affected our team and I don’t want to do that again and I won’t do it again. So that was why I went ahead and had the surgery. I didn’t want to wait and wait for this tendon to pop or whatever and be mid-season, then it’s too late. So I had the procedure done. As I rehab and continue to throw and things, if it ever gets to the point where it feels like it did before it started hurting, then that … the biggest question mark is out of the way.”
Q. Was there a deadline put on you by Vikings coach Brad Childress?
A. “No. It’s not like I’ve talked to those guys every day. They knew I had surgery. Coach Childress had asked if I would come to OTAs. Not that I would have to participate and I totally understood that side of it. I chose not to and you can pick sides on this and I think both sides are right. He wanted me to be there to be a part of the team and things like that, knowing that there’s no guarantee my arm will be like it was before. I chose to stay away because I figured there would be a media frenzy if I was there and there would be a media frenzy if I couldn’t play, if we had to say three weeks later, ‘You know his arm is just not up to par, he can’t play. …’ I said, ‘Why not just have one media frenzy?’ And that would be later on. But it wasn’t anything to do with practicing or anything like that. It’s either all or nothing to me.”
Q. Former Vikings great and Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton was very critical of you recently. Do you think you are tarnishing your image?
A. “I think the 16 years that I spent in Green Bay speaks for itself. This whole process and what’s happened in the last couple of years — and I was talking to Chad [Johnson] backstage just a little while ago — and I truly believe this. There are those people who are in your corner no matter what, you can’t do any wrong, even when you do wrong. And then there are those people that no matter what you do they are going to dislike you and that’s not going to change. And then there are the rest that don’t give a [expletive]. That’s true. We get letters all the time at my house, my wife’s telling me, she’s like, ‘Hey, we got this nice e-mail from such and such and wants you to come back.’ She never shows me the bad ones. But I know there are. And then there are those people who you ask them on the street and they are like, ‘Who gives a damn? I don’t care if he comes back, if he goes to wherever.’ I totally understand that. Once again, it is what it is. Whether it’s right or it’s wrong who is to say? I’m trying my best not to fuel the fire even though I am. This is the first time I’ve spoken.”
Q. What about getting a chance to play?
A. “I’ve had so many people tell me, one in particular, Coach [John] Madden. It’s simple but it’s true that when you’re gone and you’re away from this game you can’t go back. Maybe as a coach you can but you just can’t go back.”
Q. You are talking about physically because you have said goodbye before?
A. “At 40 years old, which I will be in October, we’re not getting any younger. And believe me, I wake up every day and I go, ‘Why am I even thinking about playing?’ Obviously things that you think about at 39, you didn’t think about at 25, even at 30. Obviously, I have a family and as much as I ask them what I should do, I get the same response, ‘Whatever you want to do dad.’ I’m like, ‘That’s not what I wanted to hear.’”
Q. What about going into Lambeau Field wearing a Vikings jersey? That isn’t going to sit well with Packers fans.
A. “I don’t know what to tell them. Vince Lombardi went to the Washington Redskins when he left. His name’s on the [championship] trophy. We give that trophy out every year. I don’t hear too many people saying, ‘That damn traitor, he went to Washington.’ Time heals a lot of things and I have nothing but the highest regard for Green Bay and I mean that sincerely. Did some things happen there that may have ruffled the feathers for both sides? Yes. But, once again, the 16 years I spent there you can’t take away. I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. They chose to go in a different direction and that’s OK. I chose to play again and that’s OK. Just because I had former players, friends of mine, I had family, that said, ‘I can’t picture you playing anywhere but Green Bay. I can’t do it.’ It’s football. It’s not life or death.”