Favre, a Hall-of-Fame NFL quarterback, knows all about managing pain after making 297 consecutive starts over 19 seasons in the league. Brett Favre can still recall how it felt when Reggie White sacked him before they were teammates in Green Bay. When CBD brand Green Eagle approached Brett Favre to be their official spokesperson, the NFL Hall of Famer was wary. It was only after Green Eagle’s CEO assured Favre that the brand was THC-free, that the NFL Hall of Famer was more receptive.
Why NFL Ironman Brett Favre Has Turned to CBD to Ease His Pain
The Hall-of-Fame quarterback is the latest proponent of the world’s buzziest alternative pain treatment
This is Life After Football, an ongoing series that examines how current and former NFL players, coaches and executives are building a legacy beyond the gridiron.
After making an NFL-record 297 consecutive starts over 19 seasons while playing for the Green Bay Packers, New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings, Brett Favre certainly knows the toll that playing professional football can take on the human body. A three-time MVP who went to 11 Pro Bowls, won a Super Bowl in 2006 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Favre is also well aware of the havoc that treating that pain can wreak.
Two years ago, the 50-year-old told Sports Illustrated he took as many as 14 Vicodin at once during the 1995 season, when he won the first of his three MVP awards, and that he had to make three separate trips to rehabilitation centers during his career to fight off his dependence on painkillers and alcohol. Given his struggles with addiction, the retired quarterback no longer turns to painkillers to deal with the routine aches and pains he still experiences from a life in football.
That’s what compelled Favre decided to start using CBD, the currently booming alternative medicine that’s derived from cannabis but contains no THC and — vitally for Favre — isn’t habit-forming.
“I had a bad experience with pain meds and was addicted like no one else. I mean, I was about as hooked as you could get,” Favre tells InsideHook. “I don’t want to take anything I can get addicted to and I don’t. When the product was presented to me, my first thought was, ‘Well, I don’t want to be involved in this.’ So I tried the product. It works and it’s non-THC, which is important. Some people probably could care less, but most probably are like me.”
Favre, who was impressed enough with the product to partner with nascent brand Green Eagle as a spokesman, now uses CBD on a semi-regular basis, and says he “absolutely” would have used CBD during his playing days if it was available and allowed by the NFL.
“I wish it would have been around way back when,” he says. “There was a time when there was a product called DMSO. It’s banned now, but my first five to eight years, that product was available. It looked like olive oil and you would rub it on. I had numerous sprained ankles in my career, bad sprains, and when you’d rub this oil or cream on, there was no doubt it worked. You could feel it. It had a sensation and it reeked. It came out of your pores and breath and just reeked of rotten oysters or something. But I’d rub it on, and within 20 or 30 minutes, I was practicing like there was nothing bothering me. I came to find out it was used in horse racing. If a horse was sore, they would rub it on them prior to a race. There’s no doubt there was stuff in it a doctor today would cringe at, thinking a person used that. I wonder what long-term effect that’s going to have on me, because something that strong that worked that well can’t be good for you. Fast forward to CBD. I hope it gets in the mainstream American lifestyle soon. Not to help me, because my days of playing are over, but for present players. I absolutely would recommend it for general aches and pains.”
For Favre, who had been approached about endorsing CBD products in the past, it is important to let people know there are alternatives to dealing with pain in the way that he did.
“I’m not qualified in a lot of things, but I think this is one where I certainly qualify, as far as giving a testimonial. There’s no doubt,” he says. “I have no problems talking about my past, because I know I’ve helped so many people by raising awareness. It can happen to anyone, and it’s better to not take something or drink something. Find an alternative. There probably were alternatives in 1992 when I started taking pain pills, but there are certainly way more safe alternatives today. The least likely of people to be addicted to something have become addicted to painkillers, because it’s just that dangerous and strong.”
Favre is optimistic the NFL, which has dragged its feet about making non-traditional painkillers legal within the league but did make some concessions within the latest CBA agreement, will be forced to prioritize player health as the league attempts to play its season in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“More so than any other time in NFL history will the health of the player is being scrutinized,” he says. “The NFL is very, very reluctant to venture out of their realm of how they think things should be done. I know that firsthand because of the concussions. They do not want to acknowledge that concussions are a problem. You and I both know, like everyone else, concussions are a major problem. But they don’t really want to hear anything about treatments or anything like that, which is crazy. Who knows what they’ll do with this product, but I’m hoping they’ll give it a try.”
That said, Favre cautions not to expect miracles from Green Eagle or any other CBD product.
“There are some days I feel great. Other days, a shoulder may bother me or a calf, just general stuff. It sucks getting old, by the way,” he says. “That’s when I use it. It’s not an everyday thing because I don’t need it every day. If you’ve got a fractured vertebra, this roll-on pain cream is not going to work. But if you have tendonitis in your elbow that flares up from time to time, I absolutely would tell you to use it, and think without a shadow of a doubt it would work on it.”
Brett Favre believes in CBD’s future in NFL, partners with Green Eagle
Brett Favre can still recall how it felt when Reggie White sacked him before they were teammates in Green Bay.
“Reggie sacked me, and I knew I separated my shoulder,” Favre told Sporting News.
The former Packers quarterback can also still recall the multiple injections that followed at hafltime and after that game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Milwaukee County Stadium on Nov. 15, 1992. That was just the seventh of Favre’s 297 consecutive starts during a 20-year Hall of Fame career. Now, the NFL’s ultimate Ironman is wondering whether a product pushing into more NFL conversations would have helped throughout his prime.
“When the injection wore off I was in tremendous pain,” Favre said. “Would the CBD products have helped? I don’t know how much, but it could have given the circumstances. You take what’s available at the time.”
CBD — or cannabidiol — is one of the ingredients in marijuana, and CBD products are being sold as an alternative to pain medications. On Wednesday, Favre announced a partnership with Green Eagle, a company that produces CBD products ranging from cream and roll-ons to sprays and liquid capsules. The products are 100 percent THC free. That is the other main ingredient in marijuana.
Favre, 50, is one of the former NFL players now endorsing CBD products as an alternative source of pain relief — and that has been a learning process for the Hall of Fame quarterback. For as many endorsements as Favre has done in the past, this one was unexpected.
“Not that my opinion is mainstream in America, but if you’re like me you can’t help but go somewhere here or there and see something CBD-related,” Favre said. “My thought had been, ‘That’s probably a bunch of pot smokers.’ That’s not the case.”
Favre learned more about CBD in talking with Green Eagle CEO Joseph Smadja, and he used the products to prepare for a half-marathon with his wife and daughter last December. He was surprised by the results.
“It’s way ahead of the market here,” Favre said. “It’s mainstream in various facets. That helped with the credibility. There is zero THC, which is the drug people put in brownies or whatever. Me being an advocate of a non-addictive pain reliever — it’s what I thought was a good fit.
“At some point it will be readily available in mainstream sports,” Favre said. “How soon? It’s hard to say.”
Favre isn’t the first NFL player to enter the CBD space. Tampa Bay tight end Rob Gronkowski endorsed CBD products during his brief retirement. The NFL also relaxed some of its marijuana-related policies as part of the latest collective bargaining agreement. That could pave the way for CBD products in the future.
Favre, who dealt with painkiller and alcohol additions throughout his career, believes CBD will be a safer alternative that grows in popularity over the next several years.
“I’ve never smoked marijuana,” Favre said. “It’s not my thing. I was addicted to pain pills, which was bad enough, and I certainly think this is a welcome relief and alternative to pain pills.”
Green Eagle emerged in 2020 as one of those companies joining the CBD marketplace. For Favre, the benefits of the substance have helped him in his post-retirement career. He believes active players can enjoy the same benefits.
“The NFL and sports in general should look into it for general stuff,” he said. “If you tear an ACL, go to a doctor and get it fixed. For aches and pains, tendinitis, things like that? Absolutely, it works. It’s good. It benefits all.”
CBD Brand Green Eagle Finds A Champion In Retired NFL Great Brett Favre
When CBD brand Green Eagle approached Brett Favre to be their spokesperson, the NFL Hall of Famer was wary. Even though he did not know anything about CBD, the former Green Bay Packers’ quarterback’s initial thoughts were of THC and marijuana. Having spent three times in rehab during his storied career due to a dependency on pain killers, Favre told Green Eagle CEO Joseph Smadja that he could not be associated with this. It was only after he was reassured that Green Eagle products were THC-free, Favre was more receptive. After trying the products and feeling that it worked, the Mississippi native was firmly on board.
Green Eagle’s appointment of Favre as its official brand ambassador is the linchpin of a concerted effort to break into the cluttered U.S. market. Although the company has a sister European CBD company Greeneo, Green Eagle needed an edge to set it apart from its competitors: Enter an ex-star athlete like Favre as the public face of its U.S. launch.
“We couldn’t think of anyone better to work with to mirror the ethos and mission of Green Eagle than Brett Favre, a tough guy who represents passion, endurance and perseverance,” said Smadja in a press release announcing Green Eagle’s launch and Favre’s appointment.
Favre, who also played for Atlanta Falcons, the New York Jets and the Minnesota Vikings before retiring in 2010, is well aware that his celebrity gives Green Eagle the exposure needed to help it generate awareness for prospective consumers. But he staunchly maintains that there is synergy between his serving as official brand ambassador of Green Eagle and his public persona.
“People know my story,” he said. “I think this is a perfect fit for me and it works. But people have to try it for themselves. Don’t take my word for it.”
Yet he was quick to note the problematic and polarizing aspects of fame. “There’s some people that like me and will always like me and there are others who don’t like me and never will,” he admitted. “I’m hoping to appeal to the audience that relates to me. For general aches and pains and tendonitis, this is certainly a product that anyone can use.”
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Headquartered in Eatontown, New Jersey, Green Eagle’s products, which are infused with hemp-derived CBD and certified by third-party testing, are available in various forms that include creams, roll-ons, sprays, liquid capsules and salve sticks. Also, according to Green Eagle, the brand “transforms nutrients into nanoparticles in order to allow the body to absorb the natural ingredients faster and more efficiently.” The target demographic “would be someone looking for a natural solution to manage aches and pains or support faster muscle recovery.”
When asked if he’s received any feedback from fans and/or former teammates regarding his endorsement of CBD, Favre said he has not. But he conceded that during the extensive press interviews he’s given promoting Green Eagle, “I’ve not followed up with any reaction with anyone and I probably won’t. It’s like my dad said a long time ago when I was playing football, [if] you are willing to read the good clips you [should be] willing to look at the bad. I say what I say and ignore the rest. I hope it’s a good reaction. I believe in the product. I’m a valid person to endorse this product and I think people should give it a try if they have something that ails them and so be it and that’s as far as I go.”