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Brett Favre
Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Brett Favre

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Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre led the Green Bay Packers to victory in Super Bowl XXXI, and retired as the all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns.

Who Is Brett Favre?

NFL quarterback Brett Favre attended the University of Southern Mississippi, and after a stellar college career, Favre was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the 1991 NFL draft. Following his trade to the Green Bay Packers the next year, Favre led the franchise to victory in Super Bowl XXXI. He was also named the league's MVP three years in a row. After shorter stints with the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings, Favre retired from football after the 2010 season.

Early Years

Favre was born Brett Lorenzo Favre in Gulfport, Mississippi, on October 10, 1969. The second of four children, Favre grew up in the wilds of bayou country, hunting and fishing with his three brothers.

In school, Favre, like his siblings, showed a passion and talent for baseball and football. Initially, at least, he seemed to be a better baseball player, as Favre took a spot in the starting rotation for Hancock North Central in the eighth grade.

But as the son of a tough-nosed football coach, Favre demonstrated a gift in his other sport as well. Big and strong, Favre, who was coached by his father in high school, played quarterback throughout his years at Hancock North Central. But his talent drew little notice or praise from college scouts. When it came time to pick a school, Favre chose the University of Southern Mississippi, in large part because it was the only college to offer him a scholarship.

As a college player, Favre packed a toughness his teammates easily admired, with a propensity for late-game heroics. He also set several school records, and in the 1991 NFL draft, the Atlanta Falcons chose the young QB with the 33rd overall selection.

NFL Career

Favre took just a few snaps for the Falcons as a rookie. Throughout the year, the franchise was at odds over what the future held for Favre and so, when the Green Bay Packers offered the club a first-round pick for the backup quarterback, the team took the deal.

Green Bay Packers

Favre went on to have a remarkable run with the Packers, turning around the struggling but once-proud franchise into a perennial winner while establishing himself as one of the game's best quarterbacks. Over the course of 16 seasons with the franchise, Favre led the team to a pair of Super Bowls, winning one, and became the first NFL player to win three straight MVP awards.

Additionally, Favre started every single Packer game from September 20, 1992, to January 20, 2008. Overall, Favre's ironman streak would run an amazing 297 games, an NFL record.

New York Jets

In 2008, the Packers traded Favre, who'd waffled on whether to retire, to the New York Jets. While his 2008 season with the Jets started out well, the team lost four of their last five games, including their final game against the Miami Dolphins, and they missed the playoffs.

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Minnesota Vikings and Retirement

In April 2009, Favre was released from his contract with the Jets, freeing him to sign with the Minnesota Vikings. The rejuvenated veteran topped 4,000 passing yards and threw 33 touchdowns against just seven interceptions, guiding the Vikings to a 12-4 record and a spot in the NFC Championship Game. At the end of the year, he was named to his 11th Pro Bowl.

Favre returned to Minnesota in 2010 for what would become a disappointing season for the quarterback and the club. He retired for good in January 2011, having established NFL records for passing yards (71,838) and touchdowns (508), and resumed a quiet life in Mississippi.

Substance Abuse

Early in his NFL career, Favre developed a dependence on painkillers to bounce back from on-field injuries. A month in rehab wasn't enough to quell the habit, and the QB began ingesting up to 15 Vicodin pills per day even as he was putting up MVP numbers.

After suffering a seizure that may have been related to his Vicodin intake, Favre in May 1996 announced that he was entering the NFL's substance-abuse program. He managed to beat the painkiller addiction — the Packers won the Super Bowl after Favre returned — but continued to battle his drinking demons, leading to another stint in rehab in 1998.

After the NFL

In 2012, Favre was hired as an assistant football coach at Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He was asked by the St. Louis Rams to return to the NFL the following October, but he declined their offer. Favre admitted to the media around this time that he was suffering from some memory loss, which he attributed in part to the many injuries he sustained during his pro football career.

One of the greatest players in Green Bay's storied history, Favre was honored by his old team with induction into the Packers Hall of Fame and a number retirement ceremony in 2015. The following year, he was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.

In 2013, Favre joined the board of directors for Sqor, a burgeoning social network that aimed to connect athletes with fans. In late January 2018, it was revealed that the former football great and his partners were being sued for more than $16 million by an investor, over claims that Sqor had misrepresented its social reach and projected income.

Favre found himself mired another controversy in May 2020, when it was reported that the Mississippi Department of Human Services had misspent nearly $100 million in welfare funds, with $1.1 million of that money sent to the NFL icon for a series of speaking engagements that never took place.

Favre, who insisted that he was unaware of where the money came from or that he had failed to meet any contractual obligations, promised to repay the entire $1.1 million.

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