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Brett Favre's career comes full circle with Hall of Fame induction

One of the most remarkable careers in NFL history finally culminates with a place in the Hall of Fame.

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The journey of Brett Favre continues to captivate football fans years after his career ended five years ago. Now, the three-time league MVP takes his place among the sport's immortals in the Pro Football Hall of Fame later this summer, completing the circle from hero, villain, and hero once again to his fans in Green Bay.

But Favre's spectacular story probably never should have unfolded as it did.

The small-town kid from Mississippi grew up playing football under the tutelage of his father, "Big Irv." Though Favre played quarterback for his dad, he paradoxically received few opportunities to throw the ball. Instead, Big Irv forced his son to run an option attack, greatly reducing the amount of college interest. Favre received just one scholarship offer, a bid from the University of Southern Mississippi, one of college football's most southern outposts. Furthermore, the Golden Eagles wanted Favre as a defensive back, not a signal caller.

Still, Favre found his way under center anyway, developing a reputation for the spectacular. He led a successful comeback against Tulane as a freshman despite playing through a hangover, ultimately producing a 6-4 record as the team's quarterback that season. By his junior year, he had led the Golden Eagles to a statement win over No. 6 Florida State via a game-winning touchdown throw with under a minute remaining in regulation.

Despite all obstacles, it appeared Favre had blazed his path to a future in the NFL.

Then tragedy struck. Favre was nearly killed during a car accident during the summer before his senior season. Surgeons had to remove a significant portion of his small intestine to keep him alive. For most, such a traumatic experience would signal the end of their playing careers.

Yet somehow, a visibly thinner Favre managed to take the field less than two months later when Southern Miss faced Alabama, a game the Golden Eagles won in comeback fashion 27-24. Favre started the next 10 games that year, including a bowl game against North Carolina State.

With his college career behind him, Favre matriculated to the NFL. He did little during his one year in Atlanta other than helping head coach Jerry Glanville win some wagers during pregame warmups. The Green Bay Packers traded for him one offseason later, sending multiple high draft picks to the Falcons for the quarterback's services. Favre initially failed the physical when he arrived in Green Bay, but general manager Ron Wolf decided to clear him anyway.

Within three years of that trade, Favre had earned the first of his three MVP awards. Four years later, he overcame a painkiller addiction to win a Super Bowl ring, the Packers' first championship since the late 1960s. Five years out, he had secured his place as a Wisconsin sports legend.

But the rise of a hero only foreshadows his fall, and so it played out in Green Bay. After a near-Super Bowl run in 2007, Favre told the team he planned to retire. That lasted just a few months before the old gunslinger decided he couldn't live without the sport that made him famous and wealthy.

However, at that point, the Packers had moved onto a young quarterback named Aaron Rodgers, a former first-round pick who the organization believed could guide them to another prolonged period of success. With both sides unwilling to budge, a separation became inevitable.

No divorce dominated the headlines quite the way the separation of Favre and the Packers did in the summer of 2008. Teams rarely move on voluntarily from superstar quarterbacks, and Favre's status as the king of Wisconsin came under fire for the first time. The team ultimately traded No. 4 to the New York Jets, where he toiled for a year, setting up for one of the most significant heel turns in sports history.

After another offseason of temporary retirement, Favre secured his path to the Minnesota Vikings, one of his former team's arch rivals. Favre proceeded to have the best statistical season of his career, completing 68.4 percent of his passes for 4,202 yards, 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. If not for a late-game interception during the NFC Championship, Favre could have led the Vikings to their first Super Bowl appearance since 1976. The following season, Favre's last in the NFL, the Vikings lost both of their matchups with the Packers.

While Favre no longer tormented his former team, many of his Wisconsin fans held onto the animosity created by his departure. It took several years after the quarterback's retirement -- as well as a public reunion between Favre and his successor -- before the hurt feelings began to dissipate.

Two years after Favre and Rodgers had their handshake moment, the Packers retired No. 4 during a Thanksgiving evening matchup with the Chicago Bears. Just a few months after that, the league announced Favre's induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, completing the cycle of his NFL journey.