GREEN BAY, Wis. – Twenty-three years ago today, Brett Favre was sitting in the kitchen of his parents' home in Kiln, Mississippi, with his brother, Scott, when the quarterback learned he had been traded to the Green Bay Packers.
It was June Jones, the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator at the time, who broke the news to him.
"June calls, and we small talked for a minute or so," Favre recalled in a telephone interview last week. "June and I got along great. He worked tirelessly with me after practice and watching film, and I got along with him great. And he said, 'In some ways I'm excited for you and in other ways I'm disappointed.'"
Favre had no idea what Jones was talking about.
"I said, 'What do you mean?'" Favre said. "And he said, 'Well, we traded you to Green Bay.'"
Favre thought it was a prank.
"I was kind of shocked," Favre said. "I wondered if this was for real or a joke. He said, 'I wish you the best. I enjoyed working with you. I hope you have a great career. This is a great opportunity for you.'"
Favre barely had time to tell Scott what had happened when the phone rang again. This time, it was Ron Wolf, who had been hired as the Packers general manager less than three months earlier.
"I didn't know this at the time, but later on after I got to Green Bay, Ron had told me the story that he was going to draft me the year before with the Jets," Favre said. "I did know that [the Jets'] first pick was, I think the 33rd or 34th pick [in the 1991 draft]. They, of course, took Browning Nagle, but they wanted me."
Favre went 33rd to the Falcons, and the Jets picked Nagle at No. 34.
Wolf missed out on Favre once. He wasn't going to let it happen again. Less than a week after then-Packers president Bob Harlan hired Wolf as general manager on Nov. 27, 1991, the Packers played the Falcons in a late-season game.
"He basically decided that day in Atlanta that he was going to make a trade for Brett Favre," Harlan said last week.
It was one of the key moves, if not the key move, that resurrected the Packers and put Wolf on track to be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame earlier this month.
"Little did I know that when Green Bay came down to Atlanta at Fulton County Stadium that he was there on the field to watch me throw," said Favre, who was the Falcons' third-string quarterback as a rookie. "Thank goodness he didn't look at my waistline and say, 'I'm not going after this guy.' He said when he left Fulton County, he was sure that's the guy he wanted to get. So his first order of business was to get a coach [Mike Holmgren], and his second order of business was to get me."
Favre recalled that Wolf's message to him on Feb. 11, 1992 was simple.
"He said, 'Look, I'm in the GM in Green Bay, and we just traded for you and I want you to know that we're very excited about having you and having you lead our team,'" Favre said.