YOU WATCH him on television, and you say, "O.K., he made a play." But when you see him in person, it's kind of like Michael Jordan. When Brett drops back, you just expect him to complete the pass. And he's as good as I've seen at that position in my years in the league.
—Shannon Sharpe, former Broncos and Ravens tight end
I HAVE spent the better part of my NFL coaching career working on game plans to beat him. There is no player I respect more. He is one of the alltime greats to ever play in the NFL. He was a tremendous leader and the ultimate competitor on Sundays.
—Lovie Smith, Bears coach
FOR THE Bears game in November 1995 he had a severely sprained ankle. I don't think too many people thought he'd play. He did everything possible that week, and he threw five touchdowns. That speaks a little bit about his durability. Another favorite memory would be his Super Bowl win. On the [ Packers'] second play he audibled to a post route to Andre Rison and hit him for a touchdown.... With Brett, there probably should be a rule that you have to put great in front of his name—the Great Brett Favre—because that's the standard he's set.
—Marty Mornhinweg, Eagles assistant; Packers assistant from '95 through '96
THE GREATEST thing about him was, it never seemed to be about him. He would have the best time [playing], and all he wanted was for the team to win; that was it. And you knew it the first time he ever took the field—he was going to have a good time. Everybody was going to respond to him. It was all about winning for him.
—Dick Jauron, Bills coach; Packers assistant from 1986 through '94
WHAT I'LL always love and appreciate about him is that he was a gunslinger who didn't change his game to appease his critics. I got his autograph on a jersey last year, and that thing will go in a frame in my house, and I'll treasure it forever. You talk about security—that jersey will have security like the Mona Lisa has around it.
—Mike Rucker, Panthers defensive end
WE [THE 49ERS] played them in the playoffs in the '96 season. It was one of those days at Lambeau—cold, muddy. We were playing in slop and freezing rain. At one point he tried to get us to jump offside on fourth-and-short. The defensive linemen in front of me were just about to jump on his hard count. So I had to get behind them and grab them by the butt so they wouldn't jump. Favre saw me do this and started cracking up. He was laughing so hard, he had to call timeout because the clock was running down.
—Gary Plummer, former Chargers and 49ers linebacker
MY FAVORITE moment is from that Monday night against the Raiders [after Irvin died]. Before the game I went to talk to Brett in his hotel room. He was hurting, obviously, but said he was going to play because we were his family too. It was pure love, pure brotherhood.
—Donald Driver, Packers receiver
I'M GOING to ask the video guys to make a highlight reel of my almost-sacks of Brett. I didn't get him, but I got some good hits, and I got close. I was just talking to [teammate] Israel [Idonije] earlier and said, "I can't believe I didn't get this guy before he got out of the league."
—Adewale Ogunleye, Bears defensive end
WE GAVE him his first opportunity to shine. We were leading the Packers [in 1992] and made the mistake of knocking Don Majkowski out of the game with an injury. Favre came off the bench and threw a couple of TD passes in the fourth quarter and beat us [24-23]. He started for them the next week and stayed there until now.
—Mike Brown, Bengals president
AS A competitor? There was no one like Brett Favre. I remember playing him once and seeing him jump in his offensive linemen's faces. He just wanted everyone always to be their best. He's the competitor I always want to be.
—Tommie Harris, Bears defensive tackle