Former Players Pile on NFL's Drug Policy

Former Bear and Super Bowl champion Jim McMahon lights a joint of medical marijuana. (Courtesy of Chicago Tribune)

One after another, former NFL players are calling on the league to allow marijuana as an alternative to numbing pharmaceuticals. In the last week, Jim McMahon, Ricky Williams and Kyle Turley have challenged the NFL's intransigence on the drug issue.

At the High Times SoCal Medical Cannabis Cup in San Bernardino on Jan. 30, Williams and Turley were both on the How Cannabis Will Save the NFL panel. Well known for his marijuana use during his 10-year career with the Dolphins and Saints, Williams told the crowd;:

'The teams don't care. They weren't trying to take care of me. So I had to take care of myself. One of the ways I took care of myself was using cannabis.'

He's previously stated: "When I played and I smoked, my body would relax, and I'd go in the room and stretch a little bit and do some yoga. Relaxing would help my body recover better."

Former All-Pro lineman Kyle Turley founded the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition to bring awareness to drug issues in the NFL.

Turley, who heads the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition, contends that "cannabis will save football." In a lengthy interview in the Jan./Feb. issue of Freedom Leaf, Turley says he's been able to kick painkillers, muscle relaxers and psych meds, thanks to marijuana. The former All-Pro offensive lineman points out:

'If we want to save football, then we've got to start looking at solutions, not just count concussions. Seventy percent or more of the players use cannabis in the NFL today, because they know it works.'

It's apparently working for McMahon, who led the Bears to a Super Bowl victory in 1985. Since his NFL career ended 20 years ago, the former QB had been on a steady diet of pills until he discovered medical marijuana after it passed in Arizona (where he lives) in 2010. McMahon suffers from early onset dementia, memory loss, headaches, depression, speech problems and pain issues. About the pharmaceuticals he'd long been prescribed, McMahon says:

'They were doing more harm than good. Medical marijuana has been a godsend. It relieves me of the pain, or thinking about it anyway.'

For more information about the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition, go here.

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.