Today, Sports Illustrated releases its special “Where Are They Now?” double issue, featuring interviews with some of the top sports headliners and athletes from years past who reflect on their careers, discuss what they’re doing now, what they miss, and more. Brett Favre is featured on the cover wearing his old Green Bay Packers jersey — the first time that he’s worn the dark green number 4 since his final game with the team in 2008. The cover story features an exclusive interview with Favre in which he discusses whether he could still play in the NFL, what he thinks of the league today, his excitement to return to Green Bay to be inducted into the Packers’ Hall of Fame, his health fears after a career full of big hits and concussions, and more. SI Editors write about this year’s Where Are They Now issue: “They were promoters (Don King) and pariahs (Jose Canseco), record breakers (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and underachievers (Drew Henson). But Where Are They Now? To catch up with this year’s crop of former headliners, SI ranged from Hollywood to small-town Oklahoma to the Bahamas and beyond.”
HIGHLIGHTS FROM SI’S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH BRETT FAVRE:
On whether he could still play in the NFL: “I think I could play…. As far as throwing, of course. I could make all the throws I made before…. We’re not trying to start some he’s-coming-out-of-retirement deal…. But I could play.”
Favre discusses his health concerns after a career that included more than 300 NFL starts over 20 seasons: “No one’s invincible…Things do catch up with you. There is a price to be paid. What that will be is yet to be seen. It may be from one violent hit. I don’t know, but it’s scary. Because you wonder, you can’t help but wonder, what is that going to do to me? Or am I going to be one of the lucky ones? Whatever lucky is. I’m not knocking the NFL. I knew what I signed up for. I could have got out whenever I wanted to get out…. I didn’t do myself any favors, the way I played.”
On suffering a concussion on what ended up being the last play of his career: “I shouldn’t have been playing…. From that point on, I never missed it…. I knew it was time.”
On his abrupt retirement from the Packers in 2008: “Had I [taken my time deciding], I would have come back and played…The drama would have been avoided.” And on his larger history of retiring: “I don’t study my retirements…But I have watched them. I look at them the way I do old pictures. Like, Oh my gosh. That haircut.”
On returning to Green Bay in July to be inducted into the Packers’ Hall of Fame and the fans’ interest in the ceremony: “I was blown away…. I mean, it’s not Elvis, but it feels that way. Like Elvis is coming back for one last show.”
On his successor in Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers: “We got along fine, regardless of what you’ve heard.”
On his life today: “I just want to hide on my property and not do anything.”
Former Packer head coach Mike Holmgren tells SI of Favre: “That’s how he should be remembered…As a Packer.”
SI senior writer Greg Bishop writes on Favre: “Favre did not make any master plan for life after football. He approached retirement the same way he approached the game itself: He winged it…. He turned down offers from at least 10 reality television shows and Dancing with the Stars…. He made more than 30 trips to Disney World, still the boy who never quite grew up.”
MORE FEATURES FROM THE WHERE ARE THEY NOW ISSUE:
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: The Hall of Fame center who played with his back to the world was immersing himself in Malcolm X and Sherlock Holmes stories before tip-offs. Now he has grown comfortable sharing his insights on race, religion, sports and history as a public intellectual.
Jose Canseco: He’s been a feared slugger, a disgraced whistle-blower and a Twitter oddity. Now the six-time All-Star travels to minor league towns and indy ball fields, putting on a show—and it’s the closest he’ll ever again get to the major league game he changed forever.
Don King: The octogenarian who promoted and personified a glorious era in boxing—the heyday of the heavyweights—is as recognizable and bombastic as ever. It’s just that fewer people are looking or listening, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Major League Soccer: As the league plays its 20th season, key figures recall the kickoff campaign in an oral history of its first year.
+Plus: Cheryl Miller, Marlin Briscoe, Dolph Lundgren, Drew Henson, WWE Mania, the stray dogs of Sochi, the Baha Men, and more.
-See the latest content from the “Where Are They Now?” issue as it rolls out on SI.com over the coming weeks, here: SI.com/WATN