(What was your reaction to the news?)
A friend of mine told me about it this morning here at the complex, the community I live in, and I was very surprised when I heard that. But as I have an opportunity to reflect on it during the course of this day, to me, Brett always played with such a great amount of passion, and if he no longer has that, then it's a wise decision.
(Do you recall going down on the field in Atlanta to watch him warm up before that game in 1991?)
I do. It was my first game with the Packers in 1991, it was a game in Atlanta, and I was told if I wanted to see Brett, if I remember the Atlanta staff, which was beneficial to me in the long run, but if I wanted to see Brett Favre throw, I'd have to look at him now, because they wouldn't let him throw during the team period. So I started to head down to the field to do that, but I never got down there. But, what I did learn from that situation was we could acquire Brett Favre, which we eventually did.
(So you never saw him throw that day?)
No, never did. I didn't have to see him throw. I watched that guy play every game his junior and senior year in college. I didn't have to watch him throw that day.
(Do you remember getting a lot of criticism for trading a No. 1 pick for an unknown?)
I do, I do. I got a lot of real nice letters. To me, it all depends on your belief. My belief was always in order to be successful in the National Football League, the one thing you had to do, was you had to have a quarterback. If you didn't have a quarterback, you couldn't win. When we were able to get Brett Favre, I was of the opinion we had a quarterback, and that's one thing that's been borne out. He was more than a quarterback. When you think about his career with the Green Bay Packers, and what has come on today, for him to be compared to the great players ever to play in the green and gold or to play for the Green Bay Packers, and for him to be now said the greatest player ever to play, he's in rare company, and it's a great, great credit to him.
(If you were GM, would you try to talk Brett out of retiring?)
I don't know enough about the particulars right now, but no, I would never try to talk somebody out of doing something they wanted to do. I don't believe in that. That was not part of my deal. I never believed in that. I don't believe you talk somebody out of something. If their mind is made up, it's well-thought, I don't believe you do that.
(Would Brett have flourished anywhere in the league or was it largely due to Mike Holmgren and his coaching?)
That's an interesting question. He couldn't have had a better situation than he had in Green Bay. I don't want to be repetitive here, but as I said before, to me he was the best player who was available in the 1991 draft, so I guess I would say yeah, he could have gone anywhere and been successful, without question. But it was very beneficial to him to have an opportunity to work under a great coach like Mike Holmgren and the people that he had on his staff, like a Steve Mariucci, an Andy Reid, a Jon Gruden, there weren't many teams where you would have talent like that available. So maybe he wouldn't have. But I rather doubt that, because the great thing about Brett Favre was, the thing you could see at Southern Mississippi when he played, when he went on the field, the field tilted in his team's favor, and I would think the same thing would apply no matter where he played in the National (Football) League. But fortunately for me he played for the Green Bay Packers, and also fortunately for me, he had people like Mike Holmgren that taught him how to play.
(Where do you think Brett Favre ranks among the all-time greats in the NFL?)
I think he's up there. One thing I think it's by era. I don't think you can pinpoint, but I think certainly in his era he'd be in the Top 5. When you think of somebody now, you think of the great tradition, you guys are up there, you're part of that great tradition of the Green Bay Packers. So for Brett Favre to be now said to be the greatest player ever to play for the Green Bay Packers, that's rare air, rarefied air, and this is an incredible deal for him.
(Did you foresee how good Brett's durability would be when you scouted him?)
I don't know. No, I never thought about it like that. But he's certainly proven to be durable. But I never thought about it quite like that. He demonstrated he was, in my opinion, a great player, and I never got into that durability business.
(When did you first realize Brett was not only good but something special?)
When did I first realize it? I realized that I think before we traded for him. For somebody in the game as long as I was in the game to say that this guy's the best player in the draft, the guy's a good player now. And he's more than demonstrated that. He's just a fantastic player.