Denver Broncos Nice Terrell Davis plans to deliver CBD sports activities drinks to the NFL
Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.
Retired athletes have found a welcome home in the CBD industry, and few ex-ballers are more welcome in Colorado than Terrell Davis. The NFL MVP, Hall of Famer, and two-time Super Bowl champion with the Denver Broncos retired over a decade before most of us even knew what CBD was, and Davis says he was never the cannabis type . But he and the plant have closed in Denver.
Denver is home to several family members of Davis as well as DEFY, his CBD company that specializes in sports drinks (over 8,600 of which he donated to the Food Bank of the Rockies in March). DEFY started TD in celebrity and has since won multiple sponsorships in professional sports, and Davis has even greater hopes for the future that don’t end on the NFL sideline.
Westword: How much has Denver changed since you were here? What’s different when you come back?
Terrell Davis: There is just building going on everywhere. You go downtown and see cranes everywhere. The traffic has gotten stupid and there are tons more people. Downtown used to be a 25-minute drive no matter what time of day. You will now see an hour of traffic on I-25. It’s crazy man My mom still lives there and I have a lot of family that are still staying in Denver so I visit quite a bit.
Was there any indication that it was going to be this cannabis capital when you played here? I doubt the term “CBD” meant anything back then.
I had no idea. Cannabis wasn’t my deal. I was out of this world, but now I understand it clearly. In hindsight, when I think of players who used cannabis while playing, I just couldn’t understand why. What’s the big thing about it? You can’t get out [cannabis] fail a drug test? These guys seemed like idiots – but what I didn’t see was what they were fighting against, be it pain, stress, inflammation or whatever it was. Now I understand that.
The CBD industry seems to be opening that window to many athletes. When did you start using it and how did that lead you to DEFY?
It was a little over two years ago when I really started looking into CBD. It happened on the advice and encouragement of our CEO at the time and a friend of mine, Beau Wehrle. He looked for different investment opportunities and drew my attention to the fact that maybe we should start looking into them. I thought, “Man, I’m not messing around with CBD” because I didn’t know about it. I linked it to marijuana.
But he knew I was in pain, inflammation and all that, and he had done his homework. So he shared some information with me that made me think differently, and I got to a point where I was comfortable enough to try it out. So I gave it a try and after about three to four weeks I noticed that my post-workout recovery was better. My knee swelling began to subside and I was able to work out back to back. At this point the lightbulb kind of went out and I thought it would be an opportunity to share it with current players. But I wasn’t comfortable enough to recommend a brand to them to try, so we researched, invested the time and effort and started DEFY.
Is there a difference in the effects of CBD on younger athletes compared to older athletes? Can it be more preventive than treatment for some?
The game of any sport is to exhaust your body to the point where it collapses. But the most important thing is how you relax and play painlessly. That was always important to me: How do I get all this pain, but above all inflammation, out of my body? Not just professionals, but every athlete wants to do this.
I remember looking at my life and thinking that this is how I would always feel, but [CBD] and DEFY changed my mind about it. I weigh 200 pounds and haven’t been like this since high school. It also helped to prevent migraines, and I wasn’t even prepared for it. I took an anti-inflammatory drug, naprosyn, in college. I stopped doing this a few years ago, a few months after trying CBD, and I’ve had migraines ever since. It’s only preventative, but I haven’t used it to stop a migraine yet.
So is this a supplement to other medications, CBD or others, or do you think this sports drink is good enough to help people with pain on its own?
Our drink has a delivery system that allows your body to absorb it. My understanding is that it is like a pharmaceutical grade delivery system that allows your body to take in ten times more than a standard delivery system and it penetrates faster. When I drink it, I feel the effects immediately, but everyone is different with CBD. We have different dosages and we recommend everyone to start with a low dosage. I’m now at around 50 milligrams a day
Where do you see sports drinks in five, ten years? Do you think we will see something like this on the sidelines or on the benches of professionals?
Yes – that is the dream! When we built this brand, that was the vision from day one. We’ve envisioned this drink not only in gyms and clubs, but also in professional sports locker rooms, and current players wear and drink DEFY in the commercials.
Last year we were the first full season CBD sponsor of the IndyCar series and had to go through a very strict licensing test. In the end we had too [U.S. tennis professional] John Isner. We continued down this path until we could establish ourselves in professional Major League sport.
How about the Denver Broncos?
Damn yeah We are always looking. Maybe I’m a little too ambitious, but I’d like the naming rights to the Denver [football] Stadion.
People are stressed because we can’t go to the gym or play basketball in Denver. What are you doing to stay active in all of this?
It’s important for us to see what you can do every time you have something like this, so that when things are back on track, you’ll be ready. We do all the things behind the scenes. Our sugar-free DEFY, the new drink, is coming soon. Since we’re all online, not much will change for us, but we’re still trying to speak to new distributors and retail stores.
Keeping Westword Free … Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we want it to stay that way. We offer our readers free access to concise coverage of local news, food and culture. We produce stories about everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with bold reporting, stylish writing, and staff who have won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Feature Writing Award to the Casey- Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with the existence of local journalism under siege and the setbacks in advertising revenues having a bigger impact, it is now more important than ever for us to raise funds to fund our local journalism. You can help by joining our “I Support” membership program, which allows us to continue to cover Denver without paywalls.
Thomas Mitchell has been a cannabis-related writer for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate, and general news for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman, and Fox Sports. He is currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.