After retiring from the New York Jets after last season, quarterback Brett Favre told Sports Illustrated's Peter King that his desire to show the Packers he still could play was part of the reason he returned.
"Part of me coming back last year, I have to admit now, was sticking it to Ted," Favre said in reference to Packers General Manager Ted Thompson. So as Favre gets set to play the Packers on Monday night as a member of the Vikings, what has changed? Today, in his weekly news conference, Favre did his best to sell this as another game.
"I never played or would play for quote-unquote revenge," Favre said told a large media gathering at Winter Park. "It's only one, maybe two games. Then what do you do the rest of the time. At this stage of my career, it definitely is not worth it to do that. But what I said with Peter, and would say to anyone, I think it's human nature to say, 'I still can do it. I want to prove someone wrong.' In your business, there's competition I would assume. Wanting to be the best. And if either you're told your not the best or you feel someone is going in a different direction, I think you would want to prove that you still could do it.
"In a nutshell that's what I was saying. Believe me, I wouldn't go suffer through a whole year and practice and physically being hit and having to be the guy every week and the leader. Just go through all that stuff, just to prove out of spite that you can still play. I felt like the best year I ever had was probably my last year in Green Bay. And I felt like I still could play at a high level. Now, at the end of this past year [2008 with the Jets], there was an injury and I didn't feel like I needed to prove anything to anyone but I knew that I could have played better and that an injury was part of the reason that I didn't play and our team didn't play as well down the stretch. But there's never and still isn't anything to do with I'm going to get it fixed, I'm going to comeback, I'm going to prove to everyone I still can play and that wasn't the case to begin with.
"But deep down inside I think it's human nature to -- even though it wasn't enough to make me decide to play -- if I'm going to play I want to play well. First of all for me. And if people say I can't, that really doesn't matter. What matters is what I feel. Believe me I don't want to go out and not play well. And I would never attempt to play if I didn't think I could play at a high enough level."
Interestingly, Favre said he doesn't give a lot of thought to how things ended for him in Green Bay. That's a bit hard to believe considering that after 16 seasons, Favre felt as if the Packers made him make too quick of decision about retiring. When Favre later decided he wanted to play in 2008, the Packers said thanks but no thanks.
"It doesn't even cross my mind," Favre said. "I'm the quarterback here, I think this team has accepted me, I feel good about where I am, I feel very good about what I did in Green Bay for those 16 years. I was not going to play there forever and I've said that over and over. You can't take away 16 years I spent there and what I was fortunate to accomplish and the great teams I played on. Can't take that away."
By the way, here are some of Favre's quotes that he gave to the Wisconsin media on a conference call before he met with the Twin Cities media. This is good stuff from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Sounds like Favre was nervous.