It takes a special kind of man to become a grandfather, and a special kind of man to become a grandfather to a special little boy. It takes a man who has a great deal to offer and who has a lot to give. It’s a man who has lived his life with passion, integrity, and deep commitment to his family and to his profession.
He’s one of the most iconic figures in the world of golf. His face is on the cover of countless golfing magazines, and his voice can be heard on radio and television broadcasts. He’s also a man who is a lot more than the sum of his parts—he’s one of the few people who’s won the Masters three times. He’s Arnold Palmer.
Defender Brett Favre is one of the best quarterbacks of all time. The 11-time Pro Bowler was named NFL MVP three times and led the league in touchdowns four times. Plus, he may be the greatest player in the history of the Green Bay Packers – the definition of a franchise player. But Favre might never have ended up in Green Bay without the efforts of former Packers general manager Ron Wolfe. Wolf tried several times to take on young Favre, which he eventually succeeded in doing. Here we take a look at the story of how a front office manager’s surprising trust in an inexperienced quarterback affected the fate of a franchise.
Failed attempt to get Brett Favre for the Jets
. Wolfe took the general manager job with the Packers in 1992, according to Pro Football Reference. In 1991, when Favre was hired, Wolf worked as an assistant general manager for the New York Jets. Of course, Favre finished 33rd in the 1991 NFL Draft – one of the worst misses of the pre-Tom Brady era. Wolfe was one of the few managers to praise Favre in the draft, going so far as to pick him first. The only problem was that the Jets didn’t even have a first round pick. Instead, their first choice was No. 34, according to Fox Sports. Wolf was desperate to make a deal to come out for the Atlanta Falcons. The deal never materialized and the Falcons took Favre at no. 33.
Ron Wolfe trades Favre to the Packers
Retired quarterback Brett Favre and former Packers general manager Ron Wolfe in 2015 Mike McGinnis/Getty Images So Wolfe had a chance to see Favre – then a backup quarterback – warm up before the game. But according to ESPN, Wolf got caught up in a conversation with a group of reporters and never saw Favre throw. This didn’t matter to Wolfe, whose faith in Favre remained unshaken. In February 1992, Wolfe organized a trade that sent a first-round pick to the Falcons in exchange for Favre. At the time, few commentators realized the importance of this deal, both to the Packers and to the NFL as a whole. However, there was one more problem before the deal became official.
Favre failed the exam
. Wolfe’s over-enthusiasm for Favre didn’t diminish after the draft or after he took over as the Packers’ general manager. Instead, Wolfe was determined to have Favre on his team at all costs. In a convenient coincidence, the Packers played against the Falcons just four days after Wolfe took over the team.
A normal part of the player recruitment process in the NFL is undergoing a routine physical examination. In most cases, the players receive a positive result and the deal can be officially closed. However, in some cases, the physical examination will reveal an underlying medical condition that may jeopardize the trade. This is exactly what happened in the case of Favre.
The Packers’ physio determined he had a condition known as avascular necrosis, reports ESPN. This condition is associated with insufficient blood supply to the acetabulum and often leads to the need for hip replacement surgery. Avascular necrosis is the disease that prematurely ended Bo Jackson’s football career.
This diagnosis was a serious warning sign. The team doctors said it could be a problem in four or five years. According to Fox Sports, they advised Favre not to undergo a medical, thus ruining the deal. But Wolf didn’t want to hear about it. He overrules the doctors, has Favre examined and approved the deal, and guarantees a quarterback who will become the cornerstone of the franchise.
Not surprisingly, Favre always had a special place in his heart for Wolfe. ESPN quotes him as saying that his old CEO has always been kind of a grandfather figure to me.
COMPARED TO: Did Brett Favre drink on Bourbon Street the night before Super Bowl XXXI?