6 March, 2008, press conference, Lambeau Field, Wisconsin, USA
Seems like just yesterday we were here. Well, I think we all know why I'm here. First of all, sorry I'm late. But I am officially retiring from the NFL and the Green Bay Packers, and as much as I've thought about what I would say, and how ... I promised I wouldn't get emotional ... it's never easy ... you know, it's funny, I've watched hundreds of players retire, and you wonder what that would be like ... you think you're prepared ... but I was telling Deanna on the way over here, God has blessed me with so many great things. Ability, wonderful family. And as I was flying up here today I thought about so many different things and how I wanted to say some of the things that I felt like I need to say, but he gave me an opportunity to use my abilities, and I seized that opportunity ... I thank him for that.
I'd like to thank the Packers, for giving me the opportunity as well. I hope that every penny ... I hope that every penny that they've spent on me, they know was money well-spent. It was never about the money or fame or records, and I hear people talk about your accomplishments and things ... It was never my accomplishments, it was our accomplishments, the teammates that I've played with, and I can name so many. It was never about me, it was about everybody else. It just so happens the position I played got most of the attention. But the Packers have been, ... it's been a great relationship, and I hope that this organization and the fans appreciate me as much as I appreciate them.
I can't leave without saying thanks to Ron Wolf and Mike Holmgren for giving me a chance when no one else would. I'd like to thank Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson, Bob Harlan, Tom Clements my recent quarterback coach, Darrell Bevell. Mike was my quarterback coach in '99. Andy Reid, Marty, ... Steve Mariucci, Mike Sherman, Ray Rhodes, Tom Rossley, and I could go through so many different names and players and seasons. It's been everything I thought it would be, and then some. And it's hard to leave. You think you're prepared for it. I know there's been comments and issues in the press lately about why I'm leaving, whether or not the Packers did enough, whether or not Ted and Mike tried to convince me to stay. None of those things have anything to do with me retiring, and that's from the heart.
I've given everything I possibly can give to this organization, to the game of football, and I don't think I've got anything left to give, and that's it. I know I can play, but I don't think I want to. And that's really what it comes down to. Fishing for different answers and what ifs and will he come back and things like that, what matters is it's been a great career for me, and it's over. As hard as that is for me to say, it's over. There's only one way for me to play the game, and that's 100 percent. Mike and I had that conversation the other night, and I will wonder if I made the wrong decision. I'm sure on Sundays, I will say I could be doing that, I should be doing that. I'm not going to sit here like other players maybe have said in the past that I won't miss it, because I will. But I just don't think I can give anything else, aside from the three hours on Sundays, and in football you can't do that. It's a total commitment, and up to this point I have been totally committed.
As I look back on my career, no regrets. No regrets, whatsoever. Sure, I would have liked to have won more games, would have liked to have gone to a Super Bowl this year, would have liked to have thrown less interceptions, more touchdowns, but no regrets. I played the game one way, the only way I knew how.
I can't leave without saying thank you to the fans. When I laughed and when my family laughed, they laughed. When I cried, they cried. When I cheered, they cheered. When I threw an interception, well, you know. But it was a perfect fit for me. Little ol' Southern Miss, southern boy from Hancock County who had big dreams, no different than any other kid, to play here, and there's no better place to play. I had a conversation with Ron Wolf yesterday, and we had that discussion. To be thought of as one of the best players to play in this league, and to be mentioned within an organization that has players like Reggie White and Bart Starr and Paul Hornung and Willie Davis and Willie Wood and Herb Adderley and Jim Taylor, Ray Nitschke, Vince Lombardi. To be mentioned with those people, ... I'm honored. Really ... I am honored. I hope everyone knows how special this is and I truly appreciate the opportunity, and as they say all good things must come ... come to an end.
But I look forward to whatever the future may hold for me. Deanna and our two girls, Brittany and Breleigh, I sincerely thank you Deanna and my family for being there and supporting me, going back and forth and switching schools and putting up with all those things. I know you probably have some questions, I'll try to answer them as best I can, but hopefully I addressed a lot of the issues and spoke from the heart.
Q: There are still many fans in denial about this. They think Brett is tired now, but after time passes, maybe he'll change his mind. It sounds like that won't happen, but can you address that?
I think last year and the year before I was tired and it took awhile but I came back. Something told me this time not to come back. It took awhile once again. Once again, I wondered if it was the right decision. But I think in my situation, and I had this conversation with Mike and Ted, that it's a unique situation in that at 17 years I had one of the better years in my career, the team had a great year, everything seems to be going great, the team wants me back, I still can play, for the most part everyone would think I would be back, would want me back. That's a unique situation going into an 18th season. There's no guarantees next year, personally and as a team, and I'm well aware of that. It's a tough business and last year and the year before I questioned whether or not I should come back because I didn't play at a high enough level. Other people questioned that. I really didn't question my commitment. I just wondered, 'Could I not play anymore?' I know I can play. But this year, and this is not the first year but it really to me and Deanna was more noticeable, the stress part of it. It's demanding. It always has been, but I think as I've gotten older I'm much more aware of that. I'm much more aware of how hard it is to win in this league and to play at a high level. I'm not up to the challenge anymore. I can play, but I'm not up to the challenge. You can't just show up and play for three hours on Sunday. If you could, there'd be a lot more people doing it and they'd be doing it for a lot longer. I have way too much pride, I expect a lot out of myself, and if I cannot do those things 100 percent, then I can't play.
Q: From a mental standpoint, how much impact did that last play have on your thought process? How much did you think about it as you walked off the field?
I didn't really think about it when I walked off the field. Would I have liked to have finished that game and season differently? Absolutely. But one play, one game, one season doesn't define me. As upset as I was at the end of that game, I really didn't think about my future at that particular time. I didn't know what I was going to do and know that I had to get away and think about it. And I've heard remarks from family and friends that you don't want to go out on a play like that. I hear that every year, regardless of the play: You've got to go out on top or you've got to go out this way or you've got to go out that way. I'm going out on top, believe me. I could care less what other people think. It's what I think and I'm going out on top. It's been a wonderful career and, once again, I have no regrets. As I think back about my career, and I've said this numerous times, the losses and the bad plays, the ups and downs, all to me were important. I would hate to think that we were perfect all the time. You would never appreciate how tough it is to get there. And through every loss and every bad play, it made the plays like the first play in the overtime game against Denver so much sweeter. As time passes, I don't know what I will do. I'm not really worried about it right now. I'll take it as it comes. Poeple say, 'Do you have a plan?' No, I don't. This is all I've ever done. I'm proud of the fact that I've done it this long and at a high level. This is a new phase in my life. I don't know what that exactly means, but it's been a pretty good ride.
Q: When you talk about the strain of the offseason commitment or the strain of living up to your high standards on Sundays and leading such a young team, did those weigh any differently?
The off-season -- the minicamps, the training camp and just individually your off-season preparation -- has been difficult. As I looked at this upcoming season, I said, I probably could get myself prepared to play. That really didn't have that much of a bearing on my decision. It's tough on everybody. But it was more the in-season strain. And Mike knows this, there were numerous Saturdays (before) home games where I was here at 8:30 at night watching film. I had never done that before. It was never enough for me. And Deanna knows this, after numerous games I would come home and after a couple of hours I had the computer out and I was watching film of the upcoming opponent instead of enjoying the win we just had. At some point, you've got to relax and enjoy and I found myself not enjoying it as much. It's fun to win but you've got to enjoy it and relax a little bit. That more than anything was taking its toll on me.
Q: Some guys when they walk away can't get near the team they left. Do you see yourself being involved with this team in the upcoming year, or with Aaron Rodgers?
I'm sure that we will talk. I'm sure Mike and I will talk. But they have coaches and because I've played 17 years and had a great career here doesn't make me an expert. The way I've done things has worked for me. It may not work for the next guy. The last thing I want to be is one of those guys who hangs around and, because of my status, they keep me around. They don't know how to tell me no. Will I be a Green Bay Packer for life? Sure. That doesn't mean I come in and give my opinions and things like that. I wish the Packers well. I wish Aaron well. I think he'll do a great job. I think he has the talent. I've heard it for the last three years that hopefully he's learned from Brett. What that means I don't know. He's his own player, he has his own style and that's what he needs to stick to. Hopefully, what he's learned from me are things away from playing, how to handle certain situations and be a teammate and things like that. I think here in the last couple of years, that's where I've noticed, in my case, things maybe changing a little bit. You can credit it to age or whatever, but I was never really a vocal person. That hasn't changed. I always enjoyed playing the game and having fun and cracking up and things like that and I didn't do that as much. I maybe was not as good a teammate from that standpoint as I once was. Not to get away from your questsion, but I think that had some bearing on my decision as well. I don't even want to think about next year. Will I watch games? I'm sure I will. Will I be involved? I always made the joke about being here for the honorary coin toss. Well, that time may come. So I may be back for something like that. But as far as giving advice, I don't think that will happen.
Q: You said you didn't have an exact plan. What are some things you're looking forward to doing?
Nothing. Nothing. Ron Wolf asked me yesterday, 'What are you going to do?' I said, 'Nothing.' And I'm going to stick to that until I want to do something else.
Q: With so many accolades and honors, how do you want to be remembered?
You know, I think we all want to be liked and we want good things said about us, positive things said about us. As I stated earlier, I hope people appreciate me, the way I played the game, as much as I appreciate them. The way I approached the game, the way I played it, to me all was important. The statistics part of it were never that important. They have been earlier in my career. I was never really a statistics guy, and that's coming from a guy that ran the wishbone and wing-T in high school and was signed as a safety in college. So statistics never were never a big part of my makeup and I think people know that. I'm well aware of the statistics, the records that I have right now. I think those were meant to be ... That's why they keep records, for those to be broken. I'm sure it makes for good TV when the next guy comes through. But I hope my legacy is a lot more than that. If I have to be remembered because of statistics then I did something wrong along the way. I really believe that I left a lot more than that. I can't make people like me or say good things about me but I hope that I left a pretty good impact on people. As I've heard, that the way he's played the game, with as much fun as he's had, is all important and I agree with that. It's a game and I played it spontaneously, nothing was ever choreographed. And I've always said this: the money they pay is icing on the cake. It had no bearing on the way I played. I played the game regardless a certain way. And I hope that's what people appreciate about me.
Q: Playing in 275 straight games and the pride you took in that, how hard was it to admit to yourself that commitment just wasn't there anymore?
Well, yes and no. It's been 275 games, at some point it's got to end. I think there will be people, including myself, saying, 'Hey, you can still do it.' But I don't want to be one of those guys that you say, 'Well, he stuck around too long.' Who knows when that will be? Relatively healthy for the most part. There are little things here and there that bother me. The thing that I'm most impressed about in my career is the fact that I've played in all those games. Whether it be consecutive or not, the fact that I played in that many games is amazing. Might as well leave when I've still got my health for the most part. As far as a career goes, it's been wonderful. So it's been everything I thought it would be and then some. None of those statistics come without playing and there's nothing left to prove, there really isn't. There was nothing last year to prove. I've known that. I have a lot of pride but it wasn't that difficult. It's more important for me to play the game a certain way and be (in it) completely, than it is to admit to myself that maybe I don't have it anymore.
Q: Waking up this morning, knowing you were coming up here to do this, what have the emotions been like? What's today been like?
I'm not going to lie to ya. There was a lot ... I flew up here by myself, Deanna was already up here. I thought of so many different things. At first I got up and drove Breleigh to school. We were late as usual. I just went about my day up to that point as I always do. In the back of my mind, I knew in just few hours I was not going to be a Green Bay Packer anymore. That was hard. Breleigh understands but I didn't let on that something was bothering me. But as I got closer and closer, there was a knot the size of a basketball in my throat. There were so many things... Again, I'm not a person that likes to get up and speak. I thought about writing some things down that I wanted to say. I didn't want to leave anyone out. I wanted to say the right things. I wanted to come across as genuine. I wanted to leave gracefully. The more I thought about all those things, the worse it got. I have to admit that there's a little bit more of a relief right now. It went over somewhat smoothly. Time will tell. But it was a tough day. And Jeff (Blumb) and I went round and round. He wanted me to come up right away, the Packers wanted me to come up. If it was me, I would have just done something later. Which to me later meant they'll forget about it and it will be over and done with. But I'm glad it's done. It was tough, it will be tough. Today was extremely difficult. But I believe it's the right thing.
Q: You're one of the most competitive people, and other athletes who have retired have talked about needing something to fuel their competitive desire. Have you thought about that and how you transition that way?
I think every individual is different. I will say this, I have listened to advice in the past, directly or indirectly. People said play as long as you can - make them drag you off the field. If I play much longer, they will. So my situation has been different. Not too many people have played 275 games, not too many people have had the career that I've had. It's easy, I think, for other people to say, 'Do this' or 'Do that' There aren't many people who have been in my situation. Because of that I'm so thankful, but I have to be cautious looking at it from their standpoint. Will I find something to do that's equal to throwing a touchdown pass at Lambeau Field? I doubt it. Will I find something that's as equal as playing in the Super Bowl or playing a game in general? I doubt it. I'm not even going to try.
As I said earlier, there really isn't a plan. I know that this place and what it's meant to my career is really special, and to think that I can find something to replace that and feel the same, I'm no fool. I know there's nothing out there like that. So I'm not even going to try. But life does go on and I will do something, whatever that may be. But it will be nice for awhile, I think, to feel like I don't have to live up to certain expectations, not only that other people have of me, but I have of myself. I can just kind of as they say, ride off into the sunset, whatever that means. Just try to relax for once in my life and enjoy it. And I'm going to steal a quote from Deanna, and I thought about this on the way up, 'See life through the front windshield, not through the rearview mirror.' I think that is so true, so important. And people who know me and play with me and coaches that I work with, I can recite almost every play I've ever ran, called, think about near every game I've played in, and that's going back to high school. So as I look back, I can't say, 'What if? I don't quite remember that game or that play.' But there are things in life I can't say that about. There are things I missed. And you can't get those things back. From this day forward, I hope to kind of see things through the front windshield.
Q: Coach Holmgren released a statement that talked about how proud he was to see you grow as a person even more than on the football field. Can you talk about who you were and how you've grown and who you are today?
I think my career in life has been well-documented. We have lived my life in the public and that's OK. If I had to deal with it again, I would do it here in Green Bay. The people here have been phenomenal. I'm not just saying that because I'm here in front of you guys. We have been supported as if we were native. But, you know, for me it's been 16 wonderful years. And I look back and I was watching at home last night, I actually broke down and watched some of the footage. How could you not? I realize what it's like to die. As I'm watching TV last night, I said, 'This is what it's like when you die.' They're honoring me and saying all these things and showing all these games. It's good, but I've come a long ways. Some of those old interviews, I thought I had it all figured out, which I didn't. But fortunately I was able to overcome a lot of my - I don't know what you want to call it - insecurities or whatever, one thing about it is I can play football. And because of that I'm still here. Throughout that process I've become a better person, a more likeable person I hope. And as my skills maybe diminished, maybe I've picked up the slack in other areas. I'm about as proud of that as anything I've done on the field. I'm not perfect by any means. I'm not going to say that, not even close. Nor will I ever be. As I look back at my career and as I watched footage last night, I have come a long ways, in a positive way and I'm truly thankful for that.
Q: I have a question for Deanna if you wouldn't mind going up to the microphone. I just wanted to ask what retirement means to you and your family and the work you've done in Green Bay and with other organizations, in retrospect and looking forward?
I promised her she wouldn't have to speak.
Deanna: I'm not real crazy about being up here. It's been very rewarding to be part of this community and to be a part of the charity work going on because it always seemed like a team effort. The people here are very appreciative, grateful, for everything we've done and I hope we'll continue in some form or another with our charity work here, but I don't think it will be the extent it has been.
We're going to take a break for a year.
Deanna: We have decided to take a break from all events this year, so the softball game we normally have in June we won't have. I know that will disappoint a lot of people, but honestly we are really tired right now.
Q: Is there anything anybody in the organization could have said to you to change your mind and get you to play one more season?
Once again I think that there have been a lot of things in the press this week that aren't true. Believe me, I've questioned my decision. I believe it's the right decision. And there's nothing that they can do or say to change that. They can make me wonder. But I think that's part of it. But once again, I think it's the right decision. It's a hard decision. I know for the last couple of years, I mean, I'm sure there a lot of people who said, 'Finally.' Good or bad, he made a decision. Believe me, it was hard. Very hard. Because that decision is made don't think I won't question it. But that's life. For people who've never had to make a decision like the one I've had to make, I can't begin to explain to you how difficult it is. But I made it and I have to be at peace with that.
Q: As you reviewed this decision, are you saying that in order to match your standard, you had to put so much more into it and as a result you weren't getting as much fun out of it?
I had so many people saying, 'You look like you had a lot of fun out there this year,' and I did. But what they don't see, that's three hours during the course of a week and I'm no different than most people. I can act the part and I know I expect a lot out of myself and certain things are expected of me within this organization and I tried to live up to those all the time. And Brett Favre got hard to live up to. And I found myself during games at times, tough situation, people always kind of made this joke or other guys on the team, even Mike at times would turn to me and say, 'All right Brett. This is where you're at your best. Pull us out.' I'm thinking, 'Uh! ... ' Now I wouldn't do that, but I'm thinking that. I'm thinking, 'Boy it sure would be nice to be up about 14 right now.' It's just hard. It got hard. I did it, but it got hard. I don't think it would get easier next year or the following year. It hasn't up to this point. It's only gotten tougher and something told me, it's gotten too hard for you. I could probably come back and do it, suck it up, but what kind of a toll would that take on me, my family or my teammates? At some point it would affect one of those, if not all of them. Maybe it has already. I don't know. I can't speak for my teammates, but maybe it's affected my play. If I even question for a second that toll that it takes has affected at least one play, then it's time to leave. You can't second-guess any decision you make on the field or wonder did the pressure or stress get to you. I think if you're starting to question that at all, then it's probably time to go.
Q: Guys talk about the locker room, plays, and games. What will you miss the most?
Well, in my discussions with former players, every one of the guys I've talked to has said the things you miss, you miss the games but it is the guys. And I haven't heard too many guys say I miss meetings or miss practice. But I may be one of those rare people who miss that to a certain extent as I'm involved in it. Sitting in meetings or practice, I have to admit, I thought about being elsewhere, but it's easy to do that when you're in the moment. But the friendships you make along the way, they come and go to a certain extent. But they are special and that I think I'll miss, grinding together. Football, I think is very unique in that of all the sports because you have to rely on one another so much more than the other sports and it's a physical sport, which I think in turn mentally challenges you more so than any other sport. And I am a little biased, but I will miss that. Sitting in those meetings with the receivers and figuring out how we're going to beat the upcoming team and challenging each other and doing it in a fun way, slapping our big linemen on the butt, which I don't think I'll be doing that anytime soon. But all that stuff, man that's just what it's all about. And I will miss that stuff.
Q: What's the most memorable play or most memorable game you'll take with you?
I hate when that question's asked. I don't have one. I really don't. I know if you ask anyone who's covered the Packers or Brett Favre over the years, ask them their top five plays or games, they're going to give you some, as I probably could, too. But it's too hard. They all meant a lot to me. For obvious reasons, some may mean a little more. But I think most people who have never played professional football would kill for one opportunity to play if they could and I had thousands and thousands of plays. But the thing that is unique about me is that every one of those plays meant something to me, and I really mean that. I never took a play off and to me it came natural to me. And to sit here and name a few plays that meant more, there were some that were more exciting, there were some that other people could say, 'That's my favorite.' That's fine. But the fact I got a chance to take a snap under center in Green Bay or in professional football was something special. And the fact I've done it for that many years and have so many plays, they're all special.
Q: You've been embraced so wholeheartedly by the entire nation. Why do you think you've had that privilege?
Well, I think, I'm probably the wrong person to ask that. But if I had to guess I would say, and I hear this from time to time, he's like one of us. Well, I am. I just play professional football. Now that is a little different job than most people. But we are regular people and things have happened to our family, maybe it being that we're in the public eye, things we've had to deal with, tragedy, obviously has (been) dealt with within the community and the world when other people are able to deal with it privately. So I think people say, 'You know what, death does happen to Brett Favre and Deanna Favre. Cancer does happen to them.' It's not all about making a lot of money and being on TV all the time. There's more to it than that. And I think, I hate to say that we're appreciated because of that because we would love to change some of those things. But it's life and we've had to deal with it with the public and we're thankful for that because it has helped. And I think coming across as, to me as genuine as possible. Deanna told me on the way over her that her sister had called her, Christy, and said that Marshall Faulk was wondering what I was going to wear. Well, Marshall, here I am. This is about as dressed up as you're going to see. I thought about wearing a suit, I really did. I thought about shaving. But, what you see is what you get. And I hope that I never change. I don't think I will. I hope that people appreciate that side of me because it is real, obviously. And it's the way I played the game. I've always said that people watching in the stands I could see them saying, 'If I could play, that's the way I'd want to play.' And that is important to me because that's the only way I know how to play it. That's the only way I know how to dress. That's the only way I know how to act. Right or wrong, it's the only way and I think people do appreciate that.
Q: You were so close to the Super Bowl. Do you feel the 2008 Packers are capable of another Super Bowl run, and did that make this decision more difficult for you?
Sure. This is a good football team, and I think I could be sitting here next year saying, I could be pulling a Tiki Barber - what if? But you know, that's the chance you take. I've been to the Super Bowl, been fortunate to play on some great teams. Once again, I have no regrets and there are no guarantees. And in our discussions, we've said that over and over again. All we can make at this point are predictions, what we think will happen. And not too many people thought the Packers would be 13-3 this year, me included. But who knows? But there are no guarantees. And hopefully the Packers do go on and have great success. And if that is the case, I hope I don't say, you made the wrong decision. I don't believe I'll do that. I really don't. But this team is really close, and that makes it a little bit tougher, it makes it tougher to leave. Boy, we were right there. But that was last year we were right there.
So the Packers wanted me, I know I can play, the fans, I guess they love me. They were camped out at my gate, the media. All these great things. Why would you retire? That's a tough question. It's a tough decision. But once again, I think I made the right decision regardless of whether we were 13-3 and on the cusp of another Super Bowl. And I keep going back to, I've done everything there is to do, and then some, and then some. I would have liked to have won more Super Bowls, but you know what? I'm not disappointed about that. I gave it my all. I think people who know me know that. And I don't know if I had any more to give. There will be no what-ifs. When I think of high school and I think of college, I think I could play a little bit better at times. I didn't really appreciate (it), because high school, before you know it, it was over. College, before I knew it, it was over. I had 17 years and those experiences in high school and college to make sure I didn't say what if in professional football. And I don't think I will say what if.
Q: Does it feel as though you're leaving on your own terms?
Sure. Yeah, we all would like to leave on our own terms. What those terms are, I've heard so many times, 'Man, I'd like to see him go out like Elway.' Well, Elway was different. He'd never won a Super Bowl, until they beat us. We could have went 3-13 this year, and I was going out on top. People may argue against that, but look at my career. I shouldn't have to make an argument. And maybe I'm the only one who's so well aware of how blessed I really was. And I want to say this again. I know I get credit for the wins, yards, touchdowns, even interceptions. But it was about everyone else. Coaches, players, fans. I want to say that again: Our accomplishments. I never thought it was fair, the attention that the quarterback gets. Being labeled as, he has 160 wins. What about everyone else? And as I walk away, I'm walking away on top, my head high, chin up. And it is on my terms. It is on my terms. Which is a good way to go out.
Q: The toughest job in sports is to play quarterback in the NFL, and there's even more to that in your situation in Green Bay. Can you talk about carrying the hopes and dreams of this community and franchise for 16 years and restoring the team to glory after so many down years?
I go back to what I said when I look back at old clips. It's a good thing I didn't know any better. I watch those interviews, and it's painful to watch. But in a lot of ways that was good for me. I had talent, probably thought I had more. I probably thought a little more of myself than I should have. But I was talented to a certain degree, but I was so naïve. Believe me, I knew all about the Green Bay Packers, and all those great players that have played here before. Knew all about the tradition. But I thought, what the heck. What's the big deal? Now, if I had to go back with the same mentality right now that I have and start over again, I probably wouldn't make it, because I'm so much more aware of how difficult it is to win, to prepare. I'm well-aware of the expectations. Back then, it was like, bring them on. No big deal. And that mentality helped me, as I looked back. It's painful to watch, but it helped me.
It is a unique franchise. I'm telling you something that we all know. There's only a few in professional sports that are like this one. It's a tough job. I don't know how tough other jobs are, because I've never done them. But I know to be the quarterback, period, is tough. To be the quarterback in Green Bay, and to have success, is very difficult. But I'm proof it can be done. As I look back, and dreaming as a little kid, I hate to admit it I always dreamt of being a Dallas Cowboy, and winning Super Bowls and being Roger Staubach. Think of all the kids, and there's probably some here in Wisconsin who have dreamed of being Brett Favre and doing the things that he's done, as I look back on my career, those dreams have been surpassed a thousand times over, and that is rare that I've been able to do that. Because I was no different than anyone else with those dreams.
I wish Aaron the best of luck. I think once again he'll do a fine job. It can be done. I know everyone's made comments that, boy, big shoes to fill. The only shoes he has to fill is himself. He doesn't need to play like Brett Favre. It's all about the cast around you, it's about the coaching staff. If you stay focused on the fact that it's not about you -- they obviously drafted him because he has the talent, mental capabilities -- he'll be fine. Hopefully one day he's sitting here where I am and able to experience what I've been able to experience.
(For all of your contributions on the field, are you just as grateful and proud of your off-the-field accomplishments, the impact you've had with Make-A-Wish kids, your foundation, and other charities?)
If you really think about it, that stuff is so much more important than football. But at times we lose sight of that. Deanna and I this past Sunday were down in Gulfport, Mississippi. Ronnie Hebert, that name probably doesn't ring a bell to anyone in here, but he was a figure on the Gulf coast for 65 years, in fact. As my dad coached Legion ball for 28 years, the summer in Gulfport, Ronnie Hebert was a bat boy, was mentally challenged. Deanna surprised me several years ago at our dinner, charity dinner, bringing Ronnie up. He passed away this past week, suddenly. He had a long, fun life. Never saw him disappointed. But I've had so many people say to me, boy, you made a great impact on Ronnie and great impact on Make-A-Wish kids, and so on and so forth. But it's the impact they had on me. That's what it's all about. For me, football has been wonderful in a lot of ways, but the fact that I've been able to touch other people's lives, and Deanna has said this I don't know how many times, that you don't realize the impact you have on people, I really don't. I've never really thought about it. All I've thought about was playing football and playing it a certain way, and whatever comes along with that, great. Whether it be money, commercials, reaching out to people, charity, whatever. It's because of football, I'm well aware of that. But because of football, I've been impacted by a lot of people and charities.
We were in Phoenix a couple weeks ago visiting the Children's Hospital, boy, that's tough. It's really, really tough. And I'm very thankful that I've got two daughters who are (in) great health, and up to this point life has been pretty good. Difficult at times, but I think we can all say that, but it's been pretty good. And I can't say that for other people. But I am, once again, I'm not perfect, never will be. I'll probably get in trouble with Deanna at times, with my girls at times, but I do have a different outlook on life, much more than 16 years ago. But I am very proud of the things that we have done off the field. Could we have done more? Sure. Could we all do more? Absolutely. But we have impacted other people's lives in a positive way I would hope, and we are thankful for that.