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Alas, the Jets already had lost their No. 1 draft pick by signing Syracuse wide receiver Rob Moore in the supplementary draft. Their first choice was in the second round, 34th overall. The Atlanta Falcons picked Favre with the 33rd pick and gave him a three-year contract worth $1.2 million. It wasn't until the next year, when Wolf had moved along to become the Packers' general manager, that he finally could make his move. On Feb. 10, 1992, Wolf traded the Pack's first pick to Atlanta, for which Favre had thrown only five passes all season playing third-string. Wolf was told he was crazy.
" 'Have your lost your mind?" was what most people said," Wolf says. "I just really liked him. He has that unexplainable something about him."
The '92 season turned out better than Favre or even Wolf could have expected. When Majkowski went down with sprained ligaments in his left ankle, the prognosis was that he would miss two weeks, maybe four. Favre came into the lineup, won two games and simply rolled. Natural. He finished with 302 completions for 3,227 yards and 18 TDs. He was sixth in the league in completion percentage, third in interception rate.
He also showed durability and resourcefulness. In the first half of his seventh start his left shoulder was separated in a hit delivered by White, then with the Philadelphia Eagles. It was a brutal play. Favre had thrown his pass and could see the collision coming. He turned his body to absorb it. White grabbed his hand and yanked him back the other way to make him vulnerable. The two men landed together. Favre's shoulder was the point of impact. It was a play designed to do what it did—to hurt him, hopefully to put him out of the game—not to stop the pass. He stayed in the game, shot up with a painkiller at halftime, but could not lift his arm as high as his shoulder and could not hand off to the left. The Eagles and the rest of the teams on the Packers' schedule saw his difficulty and worked on it. The shoulder hurt for the rest of the season, but he still played.
"Now Reggie's with us," Favre says. "I talked with him at minicamp. He said he thought for sure he had put me out. I told him I just about thought he had too. Then he put his arm around me. He told me not to worry, that this year we were on the same side. I liked that."
The shoulder, still healing, still hurts. It should be better by the start of the season.
"SPORTS ILLUSTRATED," Favre says, packing for the trip to Pittsburgh. "In my junior year a writer came down to Southern Miss to do an article for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. He said he wasn't sure the article would be in, but if we beat Florida State in our opener, he was pretty sure it would make it. We go out. We pull the upset. All I'm thinking about the last few minutes on the field is, God, I'm going to be in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED."
The article never appeared—Southern Miss went on a four-game losing streak after the upset—but so be it. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. He will be in there now. It will mention the new house he has added to the colony on Irvin Farve Road. Though there is an apartment on the second floor that he will use sometimes, it is not his house. It is a family house. A party house with a swimming pool. It has changing rooms, a big-screen TV, a pool table and video games, a room with a Jacuzzi, a full kitchen to prepare party foods and a deck large enough to hold as many people as might show up at any one time.
"We've already had parties there," Favre says. "Nothing planned. They just happen. A couple of weeks ago we started on Thursday, and by Saturday there were over 100 people on the deck."
This night's plans seem to be taking shape. Favre is going to New Orleans, where he will take a hotel room so he can make his 6:30 a.m. flight to Pittsburgh. Clark, the friend, is going along for the ride to New Orleans and to spend the night partying. Mark, the other friend, also is going. Jeff, the younger brother, is not going. Back from college, he is going to look around the area for some friends and some action. Scott, the older brother, also is not going, because he is in Hattiesburg taking a real estate course.