GREEN BAY, WIS. — Packers fan Greg Kassin sounded conflicted. He looked conflicted, too.
He sat in the Brett Favre Steakhouse in Green Bay on Saturday night, a few hours before the Packers played a home preseason game against Buffalo. He wore a white Brett Favre Vikings jersey. He dined with Patrice Gelhar, who wore the No. 12 of Favre's replacement in Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers.
"When I walked in here, some guy yelled at us, 'One of those jerseys is for wearing, the other you can use as toilet paper,' " Kassin said. "The people here are really angry. C'mon, the guy was here for 16 years, and he goes to a team in the same division? People are disappointed."
"They're sick of his indecisiveness," Gelhar said.
So Kassin bought a Favre Vikings jersey and dined at his restaurant? "Hey, you can't help but follow the guy," Kassin said. "C'mon, it's Brett Favre."
You could find conflicting emotions all around Green Bay on Saturday, from the restaurant that bears Favre's name to the stadium he resuscitated. The steakhouse is on Brett Favre Pass, right by Holmgren Way. Walking from the restaurant to Lambeau on Saturday night, you found a store on its way to selling out its 120 new Vikings Favre jerseys in 24 hours; a stand selling green jerseys with Favre's No. 4 and the word "Judas" across the back, and a stand selling one T-shirt reading "4-Ever" and another reading "We'll Never Forget You Brent."
You also found a man wearing an old Favre Packers jersey and complaining about Favre. "We're just so sick of all the drama," said Rick Degen of Wausau, Wis. "There are a lot of people who want to see him hurt, and that's getting a little carried away. But I do want to see A.J. Hawk put him on his back a couple of times. He'll throw five picks, Charles Woodson will take one to the house and we'll kick the crap out of the Vikings."
Degen's friend Jeff Brown, a Bills fan from Michigan, interrupted, asking, "When Brett Favre goes into the Hall, what jersey do you want him to wear?"
Degen plucked at his green Favre jersey.
"That's right, you want him to go in as a Packer," Brown said.
"I still want us," Degen said, "to kick his butt."
The Jersey Store on Holmgren Way ordered 120 Favre Vikings jerseys, the most the store could. They arrived on Friday. By Saturday afternoon they were almost sold out.
"We anticipated the demand to be strong," store manager Mike Walters said. "We didn't know it would be as strong as it has turned out.
"We thought some people might be turned off by him playing for a rival, but at least for this initial day or two, it's been unbelievable."
Down the street, Ross Kohlbeck was selling the Judas T-shirts for $12. He described sales as great.
"Everybody likes it," Kohlbeck said. "Well, most people. Two ladies came by and yelled, 'How can you say that?' "
Jeffery Whiteman, managing director of the company that runs Favre's steakhouse, said business has been "OK, given the current economic conditions."
"I moved here to be involved in this business," he said. "I'm a Brett Favre fan. I'm a Packer fan, also. The people who say they can't be both are the same people who have Adrian Peterson on their fantasy team."
Bruno Wessler, describing himself as the No. 1 Packers fan in Chicago, drove up for the game, and left the steakhouse holding one bottle of Favre Cabernet and another of Favre Merlot.
"Last year, I had his Jets jersey," Wessler said. "This year, the Vikings. Next year, who knows?"
Depending on your palate, these days in Green Bay you can order the Favre Merlot, or settle for sour grapes.
Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon on AM-1500 KSTP. • email@example.com