Brett Favre Reveals He Considered Suicide While Fighting Painkiller Dependence

NFL legend Brett Favre has revealed he had such a dependence on painkillers that he contemplated suicide while trying to give them up.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback said he started taking painkillers to deal with injuries in 1994. From two pills a day, however, he found himself taking a month's supply in just two days, as his teammates helped him get his hands on more.

He developed a dependence to prescription drug Vicodin, a narcotic-analgesic, and in 1995—the year he won the first of his three consecutive NFL MVP crowns—he held a press conference revealing that he would check himself into rehab.

Giving up painkillers was so difficult that the Super Bowl XXXI champion considered taking his own life.

"I was as low as I possibly could be," he said on the Bolling with Favre podcast, which he co-hosts with TV personality Eric Bolling.

"I said it's one of two things—I die, or I flush these pills down the toilet. I sat by the toilet for two hours. Eventually, I dumped the pills in the toilet, flushed them and I almost wanted to kill myself because of doing that.

"I could not believe that I've actually done that, and I was so mad at myself because now what was I gonna do?"

In February 1996, Favre suffered a seizure after undergoing surgery to remove a bone spur and bone chips from his left ankle. The incident convinced him to check into rehab again three months later and he spent 72 days in the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas.

"I quit cold turkey and I entered the NFL substance-abuse program voluntarily," Favre told Peter King, then of Sports Illustrated, before entering rehab, admitting he had once taken 14 tablets of Vicodin in one night.

"I don't want a pill now, but I want to go into a rehab center because I want to make sure I'm totally clean. The counselors I've seen think it's best for me. The one thing they've taught me is that there will always be a spot in your brain that wants it."

Favre made a triumphant return to the NFL and was named MVP for the second consecutive season as he led the Green Bay Packers to their first Super Bowl title in 29 years.

Speaking on the podcast, the 51-year-old acknowledged that abruptly stopping his consumption of painkillers took an enormous toll on him.

"It was really not the way you want to come off of pain pills because it could kill you," Favre said.

"I shook with cold sweats and hot sweats. Every night at nine o'clock, I just shook because that was the exact time when I took them. No matter where I was or what I was doing, I would take them."

Three years ago, in an interview for King's final Sports Illustrated column, Favre revealed that he had checked himself into rehab for a third time in 1998, returning to Menninger Clinic to treat a drinking problem.

"This time, it was strictly for drinking," he said in 2018. "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."

Brett Favre
Former NFL player Brett Favre speaks onstage during media day at Super Bowl LIV on January 31, 2020, in Miami. He says he contemplated suicide while fighting a dependence on painkillers. Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM