GREEN BAY — It took a while for Packers GM Ted Thompson to recall that the opponent was the Cincinnati Bengals, but he remembered rather vividly other details of the comeback victory that launched QB Brett Favre’s career in Green Bay in 1992.
Thompson, in Ron Wolf’s personnel department at the time, was standing on the sideline when Favre threw his famous 35-yard TD pass to Kitrick Taylor with 13 seconds left and ran around Lambeau Field like a wild man.
“He’s twirling his helmet like a baton, and he throws it up in the air and I’m thinking, ‘He’s our only holder left,'” Thompson said on Friday during his first Q&A with the media during training camp. “The game was tied, we had to kick the extra point, and our holder has just thrown his helmet halfway across the field. We had to get all that squared away.
“Good game. It was good to watch.”
No one saw it coming, not after Favre made his Green Bay debut the previous week replacing Don Majkowski late in an ugly loss to Tampa Bay.
“He was the crazy Brett in that game, and I mean that in a loving way,” Thompson said.
Thompson will be in attendance next weekend in Canton, Ohio, as Favre is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Eight years ago, of course, Thompson was the Packers GM who traded Favre to make way for QB Aaron Rodgers, a situation he described as “uncomfortable,” but he’s grateful time has healed any wounds that existed between Favre and the organization.
“I think that happens in life,” he said. “Life throws you curveballs and sometimes you think you’re doing the right thing and maybe you’re not, or vice versa, but for my small part in the relationship angle in terms of Brett and the Green Bay Packers, I’m glad that part is over with.
“We did the best we could at that time.”
Back at the beginning, before Wolf traded a first-round draft pick for Favre in 1992, he asked Thompson to look at some film of Favre and give him his opinion. He knew Wolf wanted an answer “tilted” a certain direction, so he told Wolf what he wanted to hear, but he knew Wolf wasn’t really listening to others’ opinions much anyway.
“He didn’t need any help,” Thompson said. About that old film of Favre, “It wasn’t all pretty, but it was pretty when he got to the Green Bay Packers.”