Brett Favre’s battle with drug abuse was really just a small chapter of his Hall-of-Fame career.
Or at least it that’s what fans thought, up until now.
This week, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King published his farewell “Monday Morning Quarterback” column for Sports Illustrated, and in addition to thanking the various pivotal figures who played a role in shaping his career over the past 29 years, he unveiled a previously unknown fact.
That Favre went to rehab not once, as had been accepted, but three times.
King recalled a week he spent with the Packers in 1995, and remembered how much energy Favre exhibited.
A few months after their interview, King learned the reason why — the future Hall of Famer was addicted to vicodin.
In fact, Favre had spent 72 days in a Kansas City rehabilitation center to try and kick his habit.
Prior to that, he was a high-achieving addict.
“It is really amazing, as I think back, how well I played that year. That was an MVP year for me. But that year, when I woke up in the morning, my first thought was, ‘I gotta get more pills,'” Favre said recently. “I took 14 Vicodin, yes, one time. I was getting an hour or two of sleep many nights. Maybe 30 minutes of quality sleep. I was the MVP on a pain-pill buzz.”
It turned out that the Kansas City visit was attempt number two of three.
“I actually went to rehab three times. I saw the most successful, smart people — doctors, professional people — lose it all, ruin their lives,” he said.
“A year or two before you saw me, I went to a place in Rayville, Louisiana, just outside Monroe. It was pills then too. (Wife) Deanna and (agent) Bus (Cook) talked me into it. I didn’t think I had a problem, but they talked me into it. I went for 28 days,” he told King.
Unfortunately, at that point his problem had spread from just pills to alcohol as well.
“When I got out, I was able to control myself for a while. I wouldn’t take anything for a day or two, and I wouldn’t drink. But I was a binge drinker. When I drank, I drank to excess. So when I went in the second time, to the place in Kansas, I remember vividly fighting them in there,” he said.
“They said drinking was the gateway drug for me, and they were right, absolutely right, but I wouldn’t admit it. I will never forget one of the nurses. I had it all figured out. I fought with this nurse all the time. I would not admit the drinking problem. At the end she said to me, ‘You’ll be back.’”
“I was back. 1998. Guess who was waiting there when I walked in — that same nurse. This time it was strictly for drinking. I didn’t go back to the pills. I admitted my problem, I was in there 28 days, and it worked.”
Amazingly, the first two visits stayed under wraps until King’s column Monday (which was surely approved by Favre).
Given today’s social media landscape, it seems impossible that word of Favre going to rehab three times wouldn’t leak out.
It just shows that as much as sports fans think they know about their favorite players, there’s always things that never get out.
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