For most NFL players, their pregame routine involves stretching, maybe seeing the trainer, listening to a couple songs to get them pumped and ready for kickoff. For former defensive lineman Derek Wolfe, he had a different method. Appearing on a recent episode of the Joe Rogan podcast, Wolfe said he microdosed mushrooms before games.
“Before games, I was taking microdoses,” Wolfe told Rogan. “So I’m microdosed…I’m fucking taking mushrooms and fucking Adderall. Before I play.”
Wolfe didn’t specify when that began or if he did it for every single game. But he explained its benefits to help himself lock in before kickoff.
“The fucking focus is out of control. Before games, I would get myself pissed off. So I would just start thinking about my childhood. The shit I went through as a kid. And it would fucking get me in this rage mode. It was this crazy controlled rage.”
Microdosing is defined as, “the action or practice of taking or administering very small amounts of a drug in order to test or benefit from its physiological action while minimizing undesirable side effects.”
In a twelve-minute clip shared on Rogan’s YouTube channel, Wolfe outlined the low points of his NFL career, consistently playing through pain and battling injuries. Early in his career, he says he was paralyzed for three hours after taking a blow to the head from a fullback that bruised his spinal cord. After being cleared by doctors who diagnosed him with only a “stinger,” he soon returned to practice and played in a game two weeks later. Later in the season, he suffered a seizure that he says almost killed him related to the spinal cord injury that hadn’t fully healed. He was placed into a medically induced coma before recovering.
He also detailed a gruesome dislocated elbow injury in 2019, a freak accident on a dead-ball false start play where a teammate’s shin hit and popped his elbow out of place. In a contract year, Wolfe says that injury cost him a chance at one final payday.
“I’ve never been in so much pain…it made me want to throw up. I was throwing up in my mouth.”
He signed a one-year, incentive-laden deal with the Baltimore Ravens the following offseason. He would earn a three-year extension with Baltimore but back and hip injuries ended his career.
Wolfe spent nine years in the NFL, taken in the second round of the 2012 draft by the Denver Broncos. His first eight years came with them before one last season as a Raven in 2020, appearing in 14 games and recording one sack. He finished his career with 116 starts and 34 sacks. He officially retired last July, signing a one-day contract with the Broncos. In his post-playing days, he joined a local Denver radio station as an analyst.
Wolfe isn’t the first player to admit taking substances before games. Former Cleveland Browns and current XFL wide receiver Josh Gordon said he would drink or get high before games if he had already been drug tested that week, knowing he wouldn’t be again for several more days. Gordon was suspended repeatedly throughout his NFL career.
In July of 2014, Wolfe was suspended four games for violating the league’s rules against PEDs. In a statement, he said he took a medication he was unaware was on the league’s banned list and that it didn’t enhance his on-field ability.
You can check out the entire clip between Wolfe and Rogan below.