COMMENTARY | At some point in life, people just need to stop being bitter.
That's the lesson many fans of the Green Bay Packers can learn in regards to the team's former hero quarterback. You know the one. The quarterback who owns the NFL record for career touchdown passes. The one who inspired a nation by playing his heart out in a game almost immediately after his father died. The quarterback who retired and then unretired so many times it made your head spin.
That quarterback, of course, was none other than Brett Lorenzo Favre.
Everyone knows how Favre's illustrious career in Green Bay came to an end. After a career year in 2007, Favre decided to call it a career in March 2008. After a very teary eyed farewell press conference, not many thought Favre would be back in the NFL that summer.
They turned out to be wrong.
That summer, Favre got the itch to play and decided to scratch that itch. Unfortunately for him, the Packers had already moved on full steam ahead with Aaron Rodgers as Favre's successor and as Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy so eloquently put it, "the train has left the station."
Many Packers fans were not ready for a future without Favre. Many Cheeseheads picketed outside Lambeau Field, demanding Favre be given his old starting job back. Other fans had Rodgers' back, saying they were tired of Favre's consistent flip-flopping when it came to retirement.
The Packers' front office sided with the latter group of fans and Favre was on his way to New York as a Jet despite the quarterback's wishes to play in Minnesota. Favre had revenge on his mind and everyone knew it.
After one season with the Jets, Favre waffled again on retirement but decided to go "full Judas" and go play for the Vikings.
For a majority of Packers fans, that was the straw that broke the camel's back. Favre had officially gone from hero….to zero. The fact that the Vikings with Favre at the helm swept the Packers in 2009 and were one errant pass away from Super Bowl XLIV didn't help matters either.
2010 was a different matter. The Vikings fell apart (as did the Metrodome roof), Favre saw his games started streak end and Minnesota fired Brad Childress midseason after (ironically) a blowout loss at home to Green Bay. The Packers went on to win Super Bowl XLV with Rodgers being named the game's most valuable player (MVP) and Favre vanished from the minds of Packers fans.
Until now, that is.
In February, Packers fans saw the strangest thing on their televisions during the NFL Honors award show: there was Aaron Rodgers standing next to….Brett Favre. They were presenting an award together. The end seemed nigh. Favre and Rodgers appearing together? Insanity!
That wasn't the end of it, either. Except for the draft, the offseason tends to be pretty boring for Packers fans as the team rarely tests the waters of free agency. Instead, fans have been hearing over and over again that tensions between Favre and the organization he used to call home have been easing, if they have not completely vanished.
By appearing with Favre during the NFL Honors ceremony, it is clear that Rodgers has taken the lead in bringing Favre back into good graces with both the Packers and their fans. By doing so, Rodgers is sending a crystal clear message to those fans who continue to be disenchanted with Favre:
"This guy hurt me more than he ever hurt any of you and I'm over it. You need to get over it too."
Hear that, still embittered members of Packer Nation? It seems Rodgers, who was far more personally affected than any of you by Favre in the summer of 2008, is willing to embrace him again. That means you should be able to as well.
It's clear some fans are still bitter towards the quarterback they once loved and embraced like a member of their family. That is their choice and no one has the right to tell those people how to feel. What's concerning is can those people really go through the rest of their lives feeling so bitter towards one player and ignoring sixteen years of awesome play because of the final three seasons of his career?
People should feel sad for those that do. It's really no way to live, but to each their own.
Besides those fans, another big chunk of Packer Nation seems to want Favre back in the fold just because they're sick of talking about him. "Retire his number/jersey and move on," seems to be their train of thought.
If that's the case, then Favre need not worry about being showered with boos upon his triumphant return to Lambeau Field. A vast majority of Packers fans are good people by nature and are willing to give people a second chance. Look at how they've embraced Johnny Jolly as he attempts to make a comeback from a drug addiction.
To those who have yet to move on and continue to hold a grudge, it's time to let it go. It's your choice to feel that way but for the sake of the organization you love so much as well as that of your fellow fans, welcome Favre home. He gave you so many fantastic memories that it is hard to believe the last three years of his career truly trump the previous 16.
The fallen hero will rise again like a phoenix from the ashes. It's time to celebrate it, not pity what happened in what's almost a previous life.
Kris Burke covers the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and is a regular co-host of the "All Packers Talk" Podcast on the Packers Talk Radio Network. Follow him on Twitter @KrisLBurke
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