Haskell was well enough to be discharged on day 11, and one of the first things he did was get into a spat with his pal Holmgren. The private plane that the Packers had dispatched to bring Haskell back to Green Bay had barely touched down when he called Holmgren and pronounced himself ready to join the Packers' staff in Honolulu to help coach the NFC squad in the Pro Bowl. "Oh, no, you won't," Holmgren said.
"Why not?" Haskell demanded.
Laughing now, Haskell says, "I did do that. But I feel great. No headaches. Nothing."
Haskell's doctors say they expect him to make a full recovery. He still faces more cognitive testing to determine whether there is any lingering damage, and he will undergo light physical rehabilitation three times a week to restore his stamina. But his motor skills and speech are fine. Last week Haskell was stubbornly putting in four-hour days at the office, and by the weekend he was attending the NFL's scouting combine in Indianapolis.
When Haskell watched the replay for the first time, says his wife, "he was very quiet."
"I thought, No wonder you got hurt," Haskell says. "See, I thought the play was past me. I don't remember getting hit at all. I just remember the ball was thrown to Brooks. I remember immediately thinking, He's not going to get the first down. Then I looked down at our play sheet to see what the next call was. And they were on top of me. In that split second, it was too late.
"To be honest, it's a little embarrassing to me now," Haskell adds, laughing sheepishly.
Holmgren can laugh now as well about his first nervous conversation with Haskell at the hospital. "You know how you always say something really stupid?" Holmgren says. "He had two black eyes, a swollen face and an IV going, and I said, 'How are you doing, Gil?' He said, 'Well, Mike, my head hurts.' "
Nancy can joke about her excitement when Gil finally recognized two of his daughters, Pattie and Paula, on the second day after the game. Nancy immediately said to him, "Gil, honey, do you know who I am?" and Haskell looked her over and said, "Why...I think you're a farmer."
During Haskell's recovery the phone rang nonstop. Thousands of cards and letters poured in. Grade school children sent homemade get-well cards, and adults sent along photos of their families, tales of their experiences, tips about what Haskell could expect in rehab. To Nancy's astonishment, the hospital received dozens of flower arrangements, many accompanied by cards that said no more than "a Dallas fan" or "a Green Bay fan."