While the Green Bay Packers have been blessed with two legendary starting quarterbacks over the last two decades, the players in question — Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers — didn’t start off the best of friends.
When Rodgers was drafted by the Packers out of University of California, Berkeley in 2005, he spent his first three years playing back-up to an aging Favre, whose on the field performance had been suffering as he reached his late 30s. Favre said he felt the pressure mounting once Rodgers joined the team and threatened his job.
“I would say (we were) strong enemies,” Favre, 49, said of Rodgers in a recent interview with WTMJ. “I wanted to play my tail off, and so did he, especially when we played against each other. I thought we got along really well when he was a young, 21, 22, 23-year-old, and then we went about our way. Obviously, he has paved his own way and then some. He stands alone in the league today as the best player in my opinion. I’m okay with that.”
Favre would famously retire, then unretire, in 2008 after Rodgers took the reigns as starting quarterback, and would go on to sign with the New York Jets, and later the Packers’ hated rivals, the Minnesota Vikings, before retiring for good in 2010.
With the starting job entirely his, Rodgers would win the Super Bowl in 2010 against the Pittsburgh Steelers and was named the NFL MVP in 2011 and 2014. The Packers couldn’t have picked a better player to hedge their bets on than Rodgers while headed into the post-Favre era a decade ago, and now, the player himself couldn’t agree more.
“Honestly, I know people want to (ask), ‘Who’s the best player in Packers history?’ People want to pick sides,” Favre — who recently was the victim of an Instagram hack that wrongfully announced his return to the NFL — told WTMJ. “I’m not picking sides. I could care less what people say either way. I think Aaron is a great quarterback presently, one of the all-time greats in the league itself and will be remembered as that. I’m really proud of him.”
He added: “Our relationship now is very good, and I’m more happy about that than anything else. I’ve been able to see a different side of him, a non-playing side. I think he’s at a much better place in his life right now, which is great for him, and I think great for the Packers.”
Rodgers recently agreed that his relationship with Favre has warmed over the years.
“Now I consider him a close friend,” Rodgers said on the Mike Tirico Podcast, according to 247Sports. “We talk a bunch. I went down and visited with him for a couple of days in the offseason and that has really meant a lot to me to find that friendship with Brett again and honor him as a friend and former teammate.”
Rodgers, who is 35 — and close to the age when Favre considered retirement for the first time — said he now has a better understanding of what his former teammate was feeling back then.
“They drafted this young kid from California,” Rodgers said. “He’s 36 turning 37, not ready to retire — the strains that put on our relationship, now we can look back and I think we can have a better appreciation for each other, for me understanding what he was going through, for him understanding what it was like to be 21 and playing with one of your idols.”
He continued: “It’s been great to make up for lost time with Brett because he meant a lot for me in my development as a player.”