May 28, 2021

Current NFL player Matthew Slater, NFL Alumni Association CEO Beasley Reece, former Detroit Lions TE and CEO of Desert Hope Treatment Center Derek Price, and former Buccaneer Patrick Venzke, joined AAC’s online talk show “Addiction Talk” to speak about the prevalence of addiction within the NFL and discussed steps to encourage other players to reach out for help with anything they may be facing.

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, the four NFL players spoke honestly and at length about the culture within the NFL and how common it is for players in the league to drink or do recreational drugs each night to avoid addressing the things they’re faced with.

On the panel, Slater stated, “…it’s nice to see now more athletes bringing awareness to the issues that they’re facing off the court or off the grid iron and trying to have conversation and dialogue about this because I think that’s the only real healthy way to attack some of these issues.”

Venzke, a patient at Desert Hope Treatment Center and someone who is in recovery himself, wholeheartedly supported Slater’s sentiment saying that it was the reason he did not reach out for help for so long.

Reece and Price also discussed the partnership the NFL Alumni has with Desert Hope Treatment Center to provide treatment for former player, and encouraged anyone in the league – past or present – who may be struggling to reach out to either of them.

For more information about the panel discussion, visit the New England Patriots’ website, the Boston Herald or “Addiction Talk.”