CANTON, Ohio - Playing quarterback was Brett Favre’s identity for most of his life and it served him well. Ask almost anybody who has watched an NFL game and they know who Brett Favre is.
But now that he’s more than five years removed from his last football game, Favre is working on a new identity, one that will last him the rest of his life. It his post-football identity.
It’s a slow process becoming someone new, but Favre said he has spread his wings and started doing things he never did when he was playing quarterback, or even in the couple of years after his career when he spent most of his time on his tractor at home.
“I kind of like traveling,” Favre said this week during one of his many interviews leading up to his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “Up until I had retired, I had heard of Yellowstone ...
“I was talking with (wife) Deanna and I said, ‘Let’s go to Yellowstone.’ And it was like, ‘Who are you?’”
Favre’s youngest daughter, Breleigh, is an accomplished high school volleyball player at Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, Miss. and will be entering her senior year this fall. Her father tries to attend all of her matches and soon will be helping her make a decision on what university to attend.
Favre said his daughter has received several scholarship offers – he would be delighted if she stayed home and played at his alma mater, Southern Mississippi – and the family likely will be visiting campuses around the country over the next year.
As his close friend and former quarterbacks coach, Steve Mariucci, said, the Favres are about to become empty-nesters.
Deanna has taken on the challenge of performing grueling triathlon and ironman competitions lately and Favre said that he has trained for similar events, albeit much shorter ones.
“I did one (an ironman) in Key West,” he said. “It started with a half-mile swim. It felt like it was the English Channel. Then I did a 12-mile bike ride and a 5K (run).”
Favre looks trim and strong and said he weighs 219 pounds, about what he did when he was playing. He said one of the keys to staying in shape has been making a major change in his diet.
He said after undergoing allergy tests because of a chronic congestion, he found that he was allergic to gluten among other things.
“The nurse came in and said, ‘I have good news and I have bad news,’” Favre recalled. “'The good news is we found out what you’re allergic to and the bad news is that it’s gluten, soy, eggs and dairy.'”
Favre, who said he has been sober since 1998, said he has changed his diet to meet the restrictions and now eats only what he called “real food”. He said processed foods are off the menu.
“It’s a life-changing diet,” he said.
Having come from a meat, potatoes and beer family, Favre joked that he could only imagine being at home with his parents and telling them he doesn’t drink milk anymore. He said it was funny to imagine hearing his father, Big Irv, say, “I’m going out to get some almond milk now.”
In addition to traveling, eating healthy and watching his daughter play volleyball, Favre has signed up with Sirius XM to do an hour-long weekly show that will debut this fall. Favre and Mariucci did a town hall recording Friday to promote the show and if that was any indication there should be some entertaining stories told.
Favre has some other ventures along with the television commercials he has been doing in retirement and will continue to find things that will fulfill him during his post-football life. He said he doesn’t miss playing the games anymore and is happy to move on to the next chapter.
“The thing with me, I played 20 years, if you count college, 24 years, and keep going back, there’s nothing that I didn’t achieve,” he said. “All the dreams I had as a child were easily achieved and then some and this being one of them.
“It’s not like I ever say, I wish I could have done that, I wish I could have played one more game, one more touchdown pass or one more completion. No. I think the best way to put it is I had my fill of it.”