Panther 'seriously ' admires Favre

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Carolina Panthers rookie cornerback Captain Munnerlyn can barely contain his enthusiasm this week.

It's not often NFL players get a chance to play against their childhood hero.

Munnerlyn, a former South Carolina defensive back, was only 3 years old when Brett Favre was drafted into the NFL by the Atlanta Falcons.

But Munnerlyn has been a fan ever since he can remember and can tell you all about Green Bay's glory days.

He wore a Favre's green and gold No. 4 jersey until the number began to fade off from being washed so many times and kept his Packers Starter jacket handy for colder days growing up in Mobile, Ala.

"You want to know the truth, that's my favorite player," Munnerlyn said, the excitement growing in his voice. "Growing up, he always was. My friends have been calling me. They marked this game on the calendar. Oh man, I love Brett Favre. Like for real, seriously."

On Sunday night, Munnerlyn will get a chance to play against Favre -- and possibly even start -- when the Panthers play host to the Minnesota Vikings on national television.

With starting cornerback Richard Marshall missing his second consecutive day of practice on Thursday with an ankle injury, Munnerlyn, the team's impressive young nickel back, could get tossed into the starting lineup.

"I hope I don't get star-struck when he's under center. I don't want to be out there playing and be like, 'Man, this is Brett Favre!' and he's like, 'Hike!'" Munnerlyn said with a laugh.

So what if Munnerlyn is fortunate enough to pick Favre?

"I'll probably ask him to sign the ball," Munnerlyn said.

"For real. I don't know if that would be a good idea. I'll probably send it to (South Carolina college teammates and current Vikings) Sidney Rice or (Thomson's) Jasper Brinkley and be like, 'Hey, tell Brett Favre to sign this ball.' I don't know. It's going to be crazy out there playing against my favorite player."

Favre, who has twice retired from the game, is having an MVP-type season at age 40, defying those critics who called him ridiculous and selfish for returning this season.


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