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The other side of Brett Favre..

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Pack93z, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. Pack93z

    Pack93z You retired too? .... Not me. I'm in my prime

    Aug 1, 2005
    The non playing side of Brett and Deanna.. the Spielman one could define the man, the legend, the one and only Brett.

    Spielman's fond Favre memory

    Brett Favre and Chris Spielman played on opposite sides of the field, but they were cut from the same cloth -- a jersey spattered with mud and grass stains.

    Neither one made a fashion statement. On game day, they had a four-day growth of beard, and Spielman had dark grease stains on his cheekbones. He was a walking uniform violation.

    Spielman faced Favre 10 times -- from 1992-95 -- in his eight-year career playing linebacker for the Lions. Two games were in the playoffs.

    Spielman had some good stories when he was contacted earlier this week to comment on Favre's retirement.

    Spielman was asked about his favorite memory, and the answer might be a surprise. Surely, it was a sack, or driving his helmet through Favre's chest to tackle him on a scramble.

    Actually, it was none of that. It wasn't even a football play.

    "My memory was, I got a call from him when Stefanie was diagnosed," Spielman said.

    Stefanie Spielman, Chris' wife, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998. Chris was recovering from a neck injury, and he took off the 1998 season to help support Stefanie in her treatment and recovery.

    "She's doing fine," Chris said the other day.

    There was a pure human touch about Favre's call to Spielman. It came six years before Favre's wife, Deanna, was diagnosed with cancer.

    There was respect in the brotherhood of football players.

    The Lions and Packers competed evenly in those days. The Lions won the old NFC Central in 1991 -- the year before Favre arrived in Green Bay -- and again in 1993. From 1991-95, the Lions made the playoffs four times.

    In the four years Spielman faced Favre as a Lion, the Lions were 3-5 in the regular season and lost two close playoff games -- 28-24 at the Pontiac Silverdome after the 1993 season, and 16-12 the next season. The Lions almost won that game, but on fourth down Herman Moore caught a last-minute pass a few inches out of the end zone.

    or this one..


    When Nikki Stuettgen was hospitalized at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Md., in 2005 with a rare genetic disorder, she had a 5-by-7 photo of her family on her nightstand. Next to that was an 8-by-10 picture of Brett Favre.

    "The nurses would tease me, call me cheesehead," recalled Stuettgen, now a student at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. "But he was always my hero."

    Stuettgen, then 16, was diagnosed with von Hippel-Landau disease, which causes tumors in the brain and spine.

    "My legs became weak, and doctors didn't know why," she said. "It turns out I had a big tumor on my spine."

    An operation to remove the tumor saved her legs but caused her to miss most of her senior year of high school. And she knew the disorder would lead to more surgeries.

    One bright spot was the Make-A-Wish Foundation's offer to grant a wish.

    "I knew immediately what I wanted: to meet Brett Favre," Stuettgen said.

    Stuettgen said her meeting with Favre in October 2006 inspired her to get through a surgery last summer and therapy to return strength to her arms.

    "I pushed myself, and now I'm back in school," she said. "He is such an inspiration. Even through his drug and alcohol addictions, and all his losses — his dad and Hurricane Katrina — he always came back to be a stronger person. I wanted to give 100 percent because I know he does."

    Many people recalled Favre's impact on the field and off this week as he announced his retirement from the Green Bay Packers. He addressed the media Thursday in a tearful goodbye. Favre and his wife, Deanna, and their charitable organizations have often contributed time and money to a number of groups, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

    Favre grants many wishes

    "The kids really looked up to him," said Jackie VerVoort, field office manager for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin. "He was a role model. They could relate to him. They knew he's been through a lot of trials and tribulations, and yet he accomplished so much."

    Favre always has been in high demand.

    He helped grant the wishes of 11 Wisconsin children who wanted to meet their hero, 12 state children who wanted to go to a Packers game or training camp, three state children who wanted to meet the Packers and another 51 children from out of state who wanted to meet their hero.

    When children's wishes to visit the locker room were granted, they would see a special locker next to their favorite player — often Favre. They also received an NFL official jersey with their names on it.

    Three children with wishes still are waiting to meet Favre, whose retirement was announced Tuesday.

    VerVoort said she will contact the chapters to see if those children want to meet the Packers and attend a game without Favre. She likely will contact the Brett Favre Fourward Foundation in a few weeks to see if they can help kids who still want to meet their favorite quarterback.

    Anna inspires Favre

    One little girl who has already met Favre twice through Make-A-Wish is 9-year-old Anna Walentowski of Neenah.

    She was born with leukodystrophy, a degenerative disorder that affects the brain. Anna's mother, Jennifer, said it's a very rare disease, and most patients don't live beyond age 2. Doctors call Anna's case "miraculous" Jennifer said.

    Anna first met the Packers quarterback four years ago. At that time, things weren't looking so good, and her family asked Favre — and other Packers — to pray.

    Favre stuck her prayer card on the family fridge, and her story was mentioned in Deanna Favre's book, "Don't Bet Against Me."

    He was brought to tears when Anna gave him a hug last month at Lambeau Field at a Make-A-Wish award ceremony.

    "She really made an impact on him," Jennifer said. "I don't know if it's because he has daughters and he saw a sweet little girl going through this."

    Seeing Anna next to him on stage "made my wish come true," Favre said.

    Anna isn't sad or gloomy about Favre's retirement announcement, her mother said.

    "She thinks, 'I got to meet him, and he's my friend,'" Jennifer said.

    And Stuettgen said Favre will continue to be an inspiration.

    "When Deanna was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I remember he said he never asked, 'Why me?' because it doesn't do any good," she said. "That quote really hit me. So I decided I wasn't going to ask 'Why me?' either."
  2. longtimefan

    longtimefan Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

    Mar 6, 2005
    Hey Pack..Few of us know that Nikki in that article from Bretts site..

    she also was on one of the plaques Brett got from the Make A Wish this past year..

    When she met him her dad and Brett talked for an hour she says about lawn mowers
  3. yooperfan

    yooperfan Cheesehead

    Dec 4, 2004
    Wonderful post about a great athlete and an even greater human being.
    Brett Favre has brought tears to my eyes two days in a row now.

    What a tremendous inspiration this man has been, and will continue to be.
  4. Zombieslayer

    Zombieslayer Cheesehead

    Aug 12, 2006
    I've heard the Anna story from another source, but had no idea about the others.
    Thanks Pack. A good read indeed. :)
  5. ElleBlue

    ElleBlue Cheesehead

    Jan 18, 2008
    Thanks for posting. Brett is a wonderful guy.
  6. Andy

    Andy Cheesehead

    Jul 16, 2005
    Great story. Chris Spielman is a great guy as well. He would have been a great Packer. But we have the next best thing...A.J. Hawk(another OSU grad). :)
  7. joym13

    joym13 Cheesehead

    Dec 14, 2007
    Those are great articles - thanks for posting them!
  8. NDPackerFan

    NDPackerFan Cheesehead

    May 20, 2005
    Nice to know the "other" side of the legend. Thanks for the good read.

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