Cris Carter reacts to Brett Favre revealing his battle with alcohol and pain pills

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In his reaction to Brett Favre revealing his addiction to pain killers and alcohol, Cris Carter reflects on his own trials and tribulations within that same arena, noting the importance of not only being able to address one's own problems, but being able to feel secure enough to approach friends and family for help.

- I-- I was very relieved that-- that the public-- 'cause from a society standpoint, we're fighting the same thing. The opiate epidemic, it's-- it's running-- it's killing-- it's killing young people at an unbelieve-- an alarming rate. Being involved with people that that's what they do for a liv-- living, as far as chemical dependency, I was glad the story was able to come out.

NICK WRIGHT: 'Cause you-- you knew the story.

- I did-- I did know the story. Very familiar with it. And the reason why I was very familiar with it, because I had one of my best friends in my life, a guy who had an impact on my life like-- like no other person, in a way like no other person-- it was Reggie White. And, Jenna, you know from Philadelphia, the level of respect, as a professional athlete, no one has more than the late, great Reggie White.

I had been in Minnesota. Got there in 1990. And one of the things that Reggie always used to tell me was, he regretted that I didn't tell him what I was going through in Philadelphia, 'cause him, Seth Joyner, some other-- Clyde Simmons, other guys who were big brothers to me, they couldn't intervene and help.

They found out that I had an addiction problem when Buddy Ryan cut me. And they were so mad at Buddy Ryan because Buddy didn't believe in addiction and recovery; that you can actually get better. And they thought that they could have helped me. But they didn't find out until I was already gone.

So Reggie was always intrigued about my overall recovery, how I went to Minnesota, and how it really helped me and turned my life around. So we had a lot of confidential conversation. If--

NICK WRIGHT: And Reggie-- if people don't remember-- went on to--

JENNA WOLFE: Went on to--

NICK WRIGHT: --Green Bay.

JENNA WOLFE: --Green Bay.

- He goes to Green Bay--

- Yes.

- -- in '93 and obviously plays with Brett Favre.

- Yeah. And he's the leader of that team. He's the one that brought the title back to Titletown. So Brett Favre, being a younger player, Reggie trying to get a greater understanding of the addiction community, he confided in me.

So I would never tell the Brett Favre story because the confidentiality that Reggie had in me and also knowing what Brett went through. It's a tremendous story. Like we are pulling for more stories like this. But, also, the NFL and how they've changed things of how they give out drugs and how opiates are dispersed and the use of alcohol, I just hope more people can get help.


- All right? Rehab, it does work. And even though Brett went once, went twice, it took him three times to be able to get it right, it doesn't matter how many times you go; it's very, very effective.

- Well, and there is-- see, in your career, how many games were you suspended for drug violations?

- I was suspended-- the collective bargaining agreement was a little bit different.


- I was suspended in the offseason. I was suspended for-- for four-- for--

NICK WRIGHT: Four weeks.

- Four weeks, yes.

NICK WRIGHT: But you never missed any games because of it.


- Favre started 297 consecutive games, wasn't kicked out of the league, wasn't-- I mean, we didn't even know about-- we knew that Favre had dealt with painkiller addiction once. That was the story I knew. That was the story the public knew.

And I-- I understand the fans and most people don't have a ton of sympathy for guys who are just smoking weed all the time. They know a drug test is coming up. They miss games because of that. But if the-- if the system were as punitive then as it is now, and if it was-- your story might not have been able to happen. Brett's story might--

- No, it wouldn't have happened.

NICK WRIGHT: Brett's--

- If we would have had social media and had everything that we have now, the chance of being successful, I don't believe they happen. I don't believe both of us end up with a gold jacket.

- And so I only say that to say this. Like we've got to-- we have to recognize guys that are just knuckleheads to a degree-- guys that like riding around with their buddies and smoking pot, like a lot of us did in college or high school or whatever, and don't grow up-- and guys that are dealing with pain, in the pain business, dealing with addiction, which touches every family in America, and figure out ways to help them.

It took Brett three tries. Like-- one of the-- one of the most amazing parts of your story to me is, you went to the-- you went to rehab. You've been clean for 27 years, 29 years.

- Uh-huh.

- That's not always how it goes. And it's not because guys aren't trying. It's not because they don't want to. Sometimes it takes a few times for it to take. And that's what he explained to Peter King.

- I think it's also important to know-- and you and I talked about this this morning-- that this is a very special guy. Like for someone to look at him and say he was able to do all of that on painkillers, Brett Favre was a cut above everyone else. He was so athletically gifted.

For anyone that's struggling with this, this should be a lesson of awareness in that it doesn't always end up that way. Your story doesn't always go the way a Cris Carter or a Brett Favre's goes. It could take a turn for the worse. So if you could take his story and-- and let it seep through as something-- as some form-- more of-- of awareness to the younger guys, I think that also kind of helps--

- Yeah.

- --anyone--

- Normal people--

- --going through that.

- --struggle with this more often than we want to give credit for. But it's also a credit to the National Football League. We realize that we have societal problems. We're embracing those problems. The overall care, the overall awareness has gotten so much better. The lack of drugs being prevalent in NFL locker rooms has decreased at an alarming rate, that-- everyone would be proud of that.

But the National Football League, they do care about their players. And my story and Brett Favre's stories are because they got us the help and assistance that we needed that altered the course of our life.