Brett Favre did a lot of incredible things on the football field, including winning a Super Bowl and breaking the NFL's career TD record. The former Packers quarterback was a genius under center and retired with a movie-length highlight reel. But there is a lot more to Brett Favre than just football.
Favre was an unusual character in the league. He often came across as being slightly zany and strange when mic'd up in games, or in post-game interviews. Not at all like the way you'd expect an MVP-winning QB to be. Some people loved him, and some people didn't, but there's no denying the fact that the Mississippi native was a real character.
One of the reasons often cited for Favre's perceived idiosyncrasies was that at the height of his powers during the mid-late 1990s, the Hall of Fame QB developed an addiction to prescription medication.
In an interview conducted with Sports Illustrated's Peter King, Favre even talks about how, in a bid to quit Vicodin, he once spent 72 days in a drug rehabilitation center in Kansas City:
"Oh, I remember that week," Favre said over the phone. "You thought, 'Man, this guys's high on life.' You didn't know there was a reason for it. 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.' 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…
"I actually went to rehab three times. I saw the most successful, smart people-doctors, professional people-lose it all, ruin their lives. A year or two before you saw me, I went to a place in Rayville, La., just outside Monroe. It was pills then too. 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. 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. 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. When I got out, the toughest thing was the first three months, because I had to change my thought process. When I played golf before, I realized the only reason I wanted to play was to drink. After a while, instead of thinking, 'How many beers can we drink in 18 holes?' I fell into a pattern of what could I do to get good at golf. I realized with each passing day I really didn't like drinking."
Favre's addiction to prescription drugs and alcohol wasn't exactly a big secret in the NFL. To be fair, he never tried to keep it a secret and even held a press conference to announce that he'd be checking into rehab during the mid-90s.
The full extent of Favre's battles, however, hadn't really been revealed until this interview conducted by Peter King.