GREEN BAY — It’s said that you can never go home again — but in Green Bay, and especially at Lambeau Field, that’s simply not true. Proof came on Thanksgiving night — during a very special and emotional ceremony.
“It’s kind of nasty out there,” Brett Favre said.
With the rain pouring down and the wind howling, the stage couldn’t have been more appropriate for a celebration of Brett Favre at Lambeau Field.
“My hands were frozen out there tonight,” Favre said.
Favre’s former teammates strolled out to mid-field during halftime, as the Packers took on the Chicago Bears — a place they have been many times before. But this time, with the last man to wear #4 for the Packers.
“Brett, on behalf of the Green Bay Packers organization, and our fans, welcome home!” Packers President Mark Murphy said.
Murphy then officially brought Favre back onto the field.
“Tonight we will unveil your retired #4 and you will take your place among the greatest players in Packers history,” Murphy said.
With that, Favre’s name and number were unveiled above the north end zone — where he threw so many touchdowns.
“Disbelief — probably continued disbelief forever,” Favre said of the honor.
Gathering himself, Favre addressed the sold-out crowd who cheered as wildly as when he was leading the Packers to the Super Bowl.
“I want to thank my teammates who are here. I love each and every one of them. I enjoyed playing with them. And that jersey retirement is shared with those guys. I love them to death — and I certainly want to thank my family. They’re here tonight. They’re on the field. And they get to see what it’s like when it’s cold and windy and rainy. There’s nowhere like it. I thank them so much for being so supportive over the years. Most importantly I thank you,” Favre said.
And then, an emotional moment with another man whose name and number is alongside Favre’s inside Lambeau Field.
“We now have a special person who has worked really hard to be here with you tonight. Ladies and gentlemen, Bart Starr!” Murphy said.
“I got more of a thrill out of that than what I was here for. To see him, I don’t mean that, no disrespect that way, but to see him that excited at 81 years old was pretty awesome,” Favre said.
Starr and Favre shared a hug and an emotional moment on the same stage where they each shined in a previous life.
“I think just having him here in general, it was more than likely his last time to be here. And it’s sad. I mean, I really wanted him to be here. His family wanted him to be here. I think that was a special way to send him. I mean, he’s an amazing guy, amazing career here, an icon for so many. Just, it was a special moment,” Favre said.
It was indeed a special moment between two people who have a special bond at the special place they both can call home.
“I have to say to myself at times: ‘Really? With Bart Starr? Are you kidding me?'” Favre said.
In the summer of 2016, Favre will almost assuredly join Bart Starr in another special place — the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.