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Favre Estimates Drug Rehab Cost $2 Million in Endorsements

August 29, 1996

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) _ Brett Favre estimates his 46-day stay at a drug rehabilitation clinic during the offseason cost him $2 million in endorsements, but he’s not complaining.

The Packer quarterback’s base salary is $4.175 million for this season.

``It wasn’t money I had and I lost, so I’m fine with that,″ he told the Green Bay Press-Gazette. ``And I’m sure the average factory worker isn’t saying, `Poor Brett.′ I don’t feel that way either. I think I’ve got a lot of years ahead of me. Who knows? Maybe a couple more MVPs will be very beneficial.″

Favre said his failure to cash in on his 1995 MVP season stemmed from an inability to commit to guest appearances, rather than any damage to his image from his addiction to pain killers.

``Three months of my life were taken away, so it was hard to capitalize on the thing,″ he said. ``That’s OK. The rehabilitation was something I had to do. Something I needed to do. I know that.″

Favre said he earned about $500,000 in endorsement fees in 1995, but didn’t approach that amount this offseason despite being named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.

Favre, 26, signed last week with Sports Marketing and Management Group of Milwaukee.

Joe Sweeney, president of SMG, said he will handle Favre’s marketing, endorsement and business interests. James ``Bus″ Cook, a Hattiesburg, Miss., attorney, will continue to handle Favre’s football contract negotiations.

``My plan isn’t to get Brett all these endorsements, but rather to make sure that when he’s done playing he can go on to another career in business,″ Sweeney said. ``When Mickey Mantle was done with baseball, he went to card shows and drank all day, every day. There’s a better way.″

Wisconsin advertisers haven’t backed off because of Favre’s stay in drug rehab, Sweeney said.

``Brett’s almost more popular now because he came out, admitted it and took a pro-active approach to dealing with it,″ Sweeney said. ``People in Wisconsin understand that. It’s almost as if he’s fallen and now he’s risen.″

But national advertisers remain skeptical, he said.

``The national companies are taking a wait-and-see approach,″ Sweeney said. ``For them, the true test is how he plays this year. The interest remains high, and if he has another great year, well. ...″

Sweeney said he is negotiating significant deals with a national soft drink company and a fast-food chain, though he declined to identify them.

Favre has signed 900 limited edition MVP footballs that retail for $215. Ten percent of the earnings go to the Wisconsin Sports Authority, a non-profit organization formed to promote sports in the state.

A lithograph oil painting of Favre will be out in several weeks. He also has more than a dozen card shows lined up.

Milwaukee’s WITI-TV offered Favre a contract for his own TV show, but Sweeney said his client decided against doing a weekly show this season.

Instead, Favre will make eight guest appearances on the station’s ``Talking Packers″ show, starting Sept. 10.

Sweeney insisted Favre’s lack of his own TV show isn’t rehab-related.

FOX has produced a commercial featuring Favre, tight end Mark Chmura and center Frank Winters as ``The Three Amigos.″ The trio, dressed in chaps, ponchos and sombreros, bursts out of a barn and scares away Vikings and Bears.

``It’s to promote football on FOX and to let people who the Packers are,″ Favre said. ``We didn’t get paid for it, but it was a lot of fun.″

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