Reconciliation between Favre and Packers underway, though retiring No. 4 will have to wait

  • Updated: July 17, 2013 - 7:33 AM
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Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre stiff arms Vikings linebacker Dwayne Rudd during a 1999 game at Lambeau Field.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune file

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers will definitely retire Brett Favre's No. 4.

It just won't happen during the upcoming 2013 season.

Speaking Tuesday after his annual meeting with reporters to discuss the team's finances, Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy made it clear that retiring Favre's number and reconciling with the future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback is important to the franchise.

But when asked if Favre could have his number retired this season, Murphy replied, "I don't anticipate that, no."

Murphy did not rule out the quarterback making an appearance at Lambeau Field in another capacity, however, perhaps as an honorary captain or as part of the alumni weekend festivities

"We'll see," Murphy said.

A cornerstone of the Packers renaissance in the 1990s, Favre was revered in the state after he led Green Bay to the Super Bowl title following the 1996 season. But he tested the patience of fans and franchise alike with his annual retirement watch late in his career, and his decision to retire and then unretire in 2008 prompted perhaps the messiest divorce in state history. The Packers had already made Aaron Rodgers the starter, and wound up trading Favre to the Jets during training camp.

After a year with the Jets, Favre infuriated fans further by signing with NFC North rival Minnesota.

But Rodgers helped smooth the way for a reconciliation between Favre and the Packers, sharing the stage with his predecessor at the NFL Honors awards ceremony in New Orleans in February. Murphy, who has been in contact with Favre since then, said again Tuesday that the appearance was a "first step."

Murphy recently said the team wants to make sure Favre's number is retired before he would enter the Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2016, assuming he is a first-ballot selections.

"We're definitely going to retire his number. I really feel strongly that he deserves it," Murphy said. "(But) the timing has to be right."

Asked what the holdup is if both sides are talking, and what would constitute the timing being right, Murphy was vague.

"I can't tell you exactly what time might be right," he said. "But I am optimistic that you will see it.

"We want to be an NFL team where all of our former players feel good about coming back. And he's a big part of that."

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