Ricky Williams Thinks NFL Will Catch Up to Using Marijuana for Pain Management

Megan ArmstrongCorrespondent IIIJuly 14, 2019

Former NFL football player Ricky Williams, who played for the New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins among other teams, addresses an audience during a conference on medical marijuana at Harvard Medical School, Tuesday, April 11, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Steven Senne/Associated Press

Ricky Williams is high on the possibility of marijuana eventually being legalized by the NFL.

While speaking at SportsCon 2019 in Dallas Saturday, the former NFL running back continued his long-time advocacy for marijuana and stated that he believes the NFL "is eventually going to catch up" (h/t ProFootballTalk): 

"Most of the time I'm up here, I'm asked a question about marijuana. Any big corporation kind of has to be behind the times. It's public opinion, and I think public opinion has started to shift that the NFL is obviously talking about it in the public. I just think our whole country has come a long way in the past 15 years. The fact that before I was shunned and considered a pariah, and now ESPN invites me to talk about cannabis on television. We're moving forward, and I think the NFL is eventually going to catch up."

Williams played in the NFL from 1999 to 2011 and tallied 10,009 yards in his career. In December, the 42-year-old opened up to the Miami New Times' Francisco Alvarado about his use of cannabis during his playing career, which resulted in several suspensions. An excerpt: 

"Williams has always maintained he turned to marijuana to self-medicate for depression and social anxiety disorder, not to mention to help dull the pain from football's daily beatings. 'When I was with the Dolphins, the team doctor would tell me, ‘Take it easy in practice,' Williams recalls. 'I knew full well I couldn't... so I had to go on my own and find ways to better take care of myself.'"

Since retiring, the former Heisman Trophy winner has founded Real Wellness with Ricky Williams that sells cannabis-based products. 

In May, the NFL and NFL Players Association agreed to study marijuana as a possible pain-management tool for players as part of newly announced medical committees, Mark Maske of the Washington Post reported. 

The NFL's chief medical officer told Maske that the league will "look at marijuana." As of now, marijuana is still substance which is banned by the league.  

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