Chris Long calls for marijuana policy change in NFL
Last Updated: 23/05/19 4:38pm
Chris Long admits to using marijuana as an NFL player and calls for a stop to suspensions for players testing positive for the drug.
Long spoke of his marijuana use on American talkshow The Dan Patrick Show, saying: "I certainly enjoyed my fair share on a regular basis throughout my career. I was never afraid to say that, but I'm able to say it more explicitly now.
"Listen, if not for that, I'm not as capable of coping with the stresses of day-to-day NFL life.
"A lot of guys get a lot of pain management out of it."
Long, 34, announced his retirement on Saturday night having made 70 career sacks in 11 NFL seasons with the St Louis Rams (2008-2015), New England Patriots (2006) and Philadelphia Eagles (2017-18). He was the second overall pick in the 2008 draft.
The NFL announced earlier this week that the league and the NFL Players Association have created a committee that "will establish uniform standards for club practices and policies regarding pain management and the use of prescription medication by NFL players as well as conduct research concerning pain management and alternative therapies".
Dr. Allen Sills, the league's chief medical officer, told the Washington Post: "We'll look at marijuana.
"We should be heading to a place where we allow players to enjoy what I would not even call a drug.
"It's far less dangerous than guzzling a fifth of alcohol and going out after a game.
"I think from a standpoint of what's safer for people and the player, certainly people in the spotlight, it is far less harmful than alcohol. It is far less harmful than tobacco, and at various points in the league's history, they have engaged in partnerships on different levels with those respective industries."
Long said he was able to easily beat once-a-year testing by the NFL.
"Players know when the test is. We can stop," Long said.
"In that month or two that you stop, you're going to reach for the sleeping pills, you're going to reach for the pain killers and you're going to reach for the bottle a little bit more.
"If you're serious about players not smoking, you'd be testing more often. I hope they go the opposite direction and just kind of realise how arbitrary doing that one test a year is."