Aaron Rodgers: NFL issues ruling on quarterback's ayahuasca journeys

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers

The NFL has clarified its position with regards to its drug policy after comments made by Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. 

This offseason has certainly been a roller coaster one for the two-time reigning NFL MVP. Whilst Aaron Rodgers was able to sign a new deal with the Green Bay Packers that keeps him under contract until the end of the 2024 season, he did lose one of his key offensive weapons in the form of Davante Adams after he was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders.

But if there is anyone that could overcome an obstacle like that, it’s Rodgers who has shown time and time again that he can really step up to the plate and deliver for the Packers with over 60,000 yards and just shy of 500 touchdowns across the regular and postseason.

And part of that might come down to some of the treatment he goes through during the offseason to help him get ready for the grind of an NFL schedule, which according to a recent interview takes on some rather unusual methods.

What’s he done?

Speaking in an interview with journalist Peter King during his Football Morning In America column, Rodgers revealed that for three of the past four offseasons, 2019, 2020 and 2022, he has been to Peru to take part in an ayahuasca journey, which he claims appears to have helped him on an emotional level:

“I have a dear friend that I’ve known for 25 years that went on an ayahuasca journey in 2019. He came back, and we played golf one day and he told me all about it. I said, okay, I think it’s time that I do it. So we put together a trip to Peru [in 2020] and had a great experience. Then I went again this offseason and had another beautiful experience. Different, very different. Different size group, different amount of days.

“We sat three different nights with the medicine. I came in with an intention of doing a lot of healing of other relationships and bringing in certain people to have conversations with. Most of the work was around myself and figuring out what unconditional love of myself looks like of myself. In doing that, allowing me to understand how to unconditionally love other people but first realizing it’s gotta start with myself. I’ve got to be a little more gentle with myself and compassionate and forgiving because I’ve had some negative voices, negative self-talk, for a long time. A lot of healing went on.”

Healthline describes ayahuasca as “a brew made from the leaves of the Psychotria viridis shrub along with the stalks of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine, though other plants and ingredients can be added as well” and is “a powerful psychedelic brew that affects the central nervous system, leading to an altered state of consciousness that can include hallucinations, out-of-body experiences, and euphoria.”

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Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers checks the clock against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second half during their NFL football game in Green Bay

Where did Aaron Rodgers go to college?

What do the NFL think?

Now the NFL have in the past had a very strong policy when it comes to drugs, with the most famous example arguably being wide reciever Josh Gordon who has had his problems with marijuana over the years, and going by the description, ayahuasca could very well be in violation of that same policy.

But in a statement (via ESPN) the NFL stated that “use of the hallucinogenic drink ayahuasca during an offseason retreat isn’t considered a violation of the NFL’s drug policy” and that “NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Monday that it wouldn’t have triggered a positive test result on either the substance abuse or performance-enhancing substance policies collectively bargained by the NFL and its players’ association.”

Whilst this is the stance now, it will be interesting to see if its use by such a high-profile name as Rodgers might force them to change their mind at some point, because it sounds like the kind of thing that teams might be cautious of players using in their spare time.

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