The Hancock High School football team got to meet a living legend up-close and personal Tuesday afternoon.
Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre was honored at his alma mater Tuesday by the “Hometown Hall of Famer” Program, presented by Ford Motor Company. A plaque was unveiled Tuesday at Hawks Stadium/Brett Favre Field before the football team, its coaches, administrators and the attending media. The plaque, presented to him by George Veras of the Pro Football HOF, celebrated him as Kiln’s hometown hero.
Favre was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 6.
Favre prepped at Hancock North Central High School – just up the road from the present Hancock High School. Hancock’s present head football coach — Rocky Gaudin — coached Favre when he was on the HNC coaching staff of Irvin Favre, Brett’s father.
“I’ll always be a Hawk,” Favre said to the assembled players. “I’m proud of where I’m from and where I played.”
Favre played for four years at Southern Miss before embarking on his NFL career when he was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons. He made his impact when he was traded to Green Bay, taking over the quarterback job and taking the Packers to two Super Bowls. He led the Packers to a 35-21 win over New England in Super Bowl XXXI in New Orleans.
He threw for 71, 838 yards and 508 TDs in his career, which also included brief stops with the New York Jets and the Minnesota Vikings. When he retired after the 2010 season, he was the first quarterback to pass for over 500 touchdowns, 70,000 yards, with 6,000 completions in 10,000 attempts.
He made 321 consecutive starts including the playoffs, and was known as the “Ironman” in the NFL. He made 11 Pro Bowls, and set innumerable records.
He told the players that if they did their best and tried their hardest, then they never would look back and wonder what might have been.
“I knew I did all I could do,” he said. “I don’t live with any regrets… I was pretty confident I could play… It can happen.
“Whatever it is you want, you have to ask yourself what you are willing to do. Nothing comes easy.
“I didn’t think anyone would outwork me. If it hadn’t worked out, I knew I would have done all I could do. Give it all you’ve got. You’ve got one shot.”
Favre enjoyed the return to his hometown. He lives in Oak Grove and his daughter Breleigh plays volleyball for the Oak Grove High School team.
“It is always interesting how things change — the facilities, the amount of players, the size of players,” Favre said. “But it’s neat to come back, especially to come back in this fashion where you’re representing Hancock.
“I’ve known Coach Rocky my whole life. It’s always nice to reminisce with him. I had flashbacks of him yelling at me back in 1987.”
He recalled his days at Southern Miss as well, and how it was a big part of his development.
“We won some huge games (at Southern Miss),” Favre said. “We had a lot of fun. It was a lot like high school. We were not blinded by statistics or anything like that. We played blue-collar football, and that was how I played ball.”