Former Eagles OL Todd Herremans Advocates for Marijuana Use in NFL

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 28, 2017

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13: Todd Herremans #79 of the Indianapolis Colts warms up before the start of NFL game action against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 13, 2015 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Former Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts offensive lineman Todd Herremans spoke out in favor of medical marijuana use for NFL players in an interview with ESPN.com on Saturday.

According to ESPN.com's Tim McManus, Herremans said he used marijuana for his first two seasons in the league, 2005 and 2006, before quitting because of his first positive test.

He has resumed using it for aches and pains after last playing an NFL game in 2015 and believes it is an effective treatment:

The relief after smoking cannabis is fairly immediate, and the psychoactive part only sticks around for an hour or so. I'm not a scientist or a doctor; I am a football player that can only go off personal experiences. Having said that, in my experiences, after the "high" feeling fades, there are still a number of cannabinoids in the body going to work on a number of different issues for days after, including pain, stress, anxiety, sleep, etc., all known effects from playing in the NFL. For those who aren't too keen on smoking, there are plenty of other safe ways to ingest cannabis these days.

Herremans also expressed his feeling that cannabis is a great alternative to opioids because of the addictive nature of the latter:

It really is a sad topic. One in seven NFL players leaves the league with some sort of struggle with opioids. That is a horrific stat. I have seen teammates scouring the locker room looking for anyone with an opiate they could take just to make them stop shaking and feel normal so they can go out and practice. I only had a couple experiences firsthand seeing this in the locker room, and it's because they were people I was close to, but it was enough to know that it's a league-wide issue.

Per Mark Maske of the Washington PostNFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith is working on a proposal to make the use of marijuana a "less punitive" issue within the league.

Herremans is of the mind that punishments for marijuana use should stop until more is known about its impact, according to McManus:

Well, I don't know what the "less punitive" approach would exactly entail. I think the first thing to do is to stop punishing for it and to pardon all the people under suspension for it currently. It is too misunderstood of a drug to be punishing people for it. After that step is achieved, then the research can take place to see how to offer it properly as an alternative medicine in states where legal.

The 34-year-old former offensive lineman spent 11 seasons in the NFL with the Eagles and Colts after being selected in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL draft out of Saginaw Valley State.  

He started 126 games in his career and scored two receiving touchdowns during his time with the Eagles.