The NFL's zero tolerance policy on marijuana could be changing in the very near future.
Asked about allowing medical marijuana use by players, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently stated, "We will obviously follow the signs. We will follow medicine, and if they determine this could be a proper usage in any context, we will consider that."
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is open to players using marijuana medicinally. "We have to do this because the world of medicine is doing this," he said at a Stoner Bowl press conference this week. "I would say that we have to explore and find ways to make our game a better game and take care of our players in whatever way possible."
Goodell added: "We are not actively considering that at this point in time. But if it goes down the road sometime, that's something that we would never take off the table."
On a recent episode of HBO's Real Sports, former Denver Broncos receiver Nate Jackson (he played from 2003 to 2008) told Andrea Kramer that he "weeded as needed" during his playing career and that "half" of NFL players do the same.
"Pain is a constant," Jackson said. "You're always battling your body… Marijuana is something that helped me as the season wore on. My body would start to break down. I was in a lot of pain.. It offers relief. I don't know exactly why. But it doesn't hurt as much… Pain pills were not good for me. They made me feel like shit, they made me sad. I felt sluggish, I felt depressed, I felt slow, I felt bad about myself. Marijuana doesn't do any of those things to me. The pain pills are physically addictive, incredibly so, and I don't want to be a junkie."
After getting a concussion in the second to last game of his career, Jackson recalled: "For the next three days my neck was locked, my head was hurting really, really bad. I was in really bad shape, so I laid in bed and I medicated as needed with the green stuff, and the weed helped me."
Former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe also told Kramer: "For a lot of guys, they see what happened with the older generation of players. A lot of those guys got addicted to pain pills, they have alcohol problems. Well, is there an alternative? Is there something else we can do? Marijuana is an alternative… It's everywhere… It's not like there's the smokers' corner where everyone goes and talks about what strain did you smoke last night. I smoked a bit last night and it helped me feel better. It wasn't about I'm going to go get blazed and tear up the town. It was like, yeah, I smoked a bit, then I went and passed out on the couch, because I felt like crap after practice."
It's time for the NFL to get with the program and start allowing players to medicate with marijuana, at least in the 20 states where it's allowed by law.