Canton, OH – Sources are reporting that iconic Green Bay Packers Quarterback Brett Favre has voluntarily reported to a secure addiction treatment facility near the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The mysterious facility is a joint project of the National Football League and the NFL Players’ Association, but reporters have never been allowed inside the doors, and the building’s true purpose had not been revealed until today’s news.
The eight-time Pro Bowler did not address the media directly before checking in, but his publicist issued a revealing statement written in Favre’s own words:
To all of my fans and supporters: Thank you for standing by me during this difficult time. Many of you know that I have struggled with addiction to painkillers in the past. What I didn’t understand at the time is that the pills were simply a proxy for the thing over which I am truly powerless – my addiction to football.
When I entered the NFL’s substance-abuse program in 1996, I truly believed that it was Vicodin I was addicted to. But even when I fished a half-digested pill out of my own vomit and chowed it back down, it wasn’t painkillers I was taking. The pills had started to look like little footballs to me.
Now I realize that even with the pill-monkey off my back, there is still a 800-lb. Gorilla in the room. And I’m not talking about Gilbert Brown.
My recent inability to retire rather than play out the string with a sub-standard team really made me realize I have to face my demons. As of this morning, I will make myself eligible for induction into the class of 2007 at the Hall of Fame’s Jan Stenerud Center for Football Addiction. Behind these walls, I hope to find the strength to finally let go of the pigskin, and take a seat on life’s bench, next to my family.
Favre’s teammates reacted with studied nonchalance. Packer’s backup QB Aaron Rodgers said “Well, um, you know, Brett’s going to do what Brett’s going to do. He’s, um, a great leader around here and we’re really going to miss him while he’s gone. But I really want him to get the help he needs, and if that means I have to put down the clipboard and actually get my uniform dirty, that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make”.
“The Stenerud Center is the first of its kind in America, which by definition makes it the best” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “Our old outpatient treatment program had some limited successes – big names like Tiki Barber and Barry Sanders were able to retire while they can still walk upright. But we have a long ways yet to go. As long as a Vinny Testaverde or a Kordell Stewart is still sucking down Gatorade in one of America’s top-fifty television markets, the crisis is all too real.”
Experts in addiction counseling speculate that Favre will be locked away for up to a month. “He’s a voluntary commit, so he’s going to be there until he no longer feels the compulsion to do the Lambeau Leap into the arms of another football team. Of course, he could be out much sooner if he succeeds in teaching that 7-foot Indian to throw the water fountain in a compact spiral”.
Will the Gunslinger retire at the end of this season, bringing despair to Wisconsinites, opposing d-backs, and John Madden? Only time will tell. But for now, we are left hanging, waiting for a word, once again.