Former Eagle and recently retired NFL veteran Chris Long called into the “Dan Patrick Show” on Wednesday and opened up about his use of marijuana during his career, and where he thinks the NFL should be headed on the issue.
“We should be headed 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,” Long said. “Chances are the player won’t even make it to the club [laughs] to do this sort of thing that we all kind of wag our finger at when we hear about a guy getting in a fight or getting a DUI, you’re never going to read about him sitting on the couch and binge-watching ‘Game of Thrones’ again.
“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.”
“I’m not a dry snitch, I’m not going to put a percentage on how much the league smokes, but I certainly enjoyed my fair share on a regular basis throughout my career,” he said. “So, you know, and I was never afraid to say that and I’m able to say it more explicitly now: if not for that, I’m not as capable of coping with the stressors of day-to-day NFL life. A lot of guys get a lot of pain management out of it. Toradol did more pain management for me.”
He also elaborated on the NFL’s “arbitrary” way of drug testing players and how easy it is for players to beat the system, according to Yahoo Sports.
“I think testing is arbitrary. The league, speaking plainly, knows damn well what they’re doing,” Long said. “Testing players once a year for ‘street drugs’, which is a terrible classification for marijuana, is kind of silly because, you know, players know when the test is, we can stop, and 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, you’re going to reach for the bottle a little bit more.
“On the weekend you’re going to have a few more drinks, and a few turns into a few too many... It’s just not the same. If you’re serious about players not smoking, you’d be testing more often. I hope they go the opposite direction and kind of realize how arbitrary doing that one test a year is.”
Long didn’t think the admission should be that much of a shock to people, and even noted he wished it wasn’t something shocking enough to go viral.
I wish this wasn’t a rare enough admission to go viral.— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) May 22, 2019
He’s certainly not the first NFL veteran to come out about marijuana use during his career, but players usually make the admission after some time away from the league, not mere days. Still, it’s a growing conversation among the NFL and it’s players, especially as they try to find new pain management techniques and reduce the growing incidence of addiction to pain medicine.
The NFL and NFLPA met recently and announced that a committee was formed to look at various forms of pain management, including marijuana. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell noted that they league would consider allowing the use of medical marijuana depending on what the scientific experts and studies find.
“We’re asking our pain management committee to bring us any and all suggestions,” Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical officer, said, according to the Washington Post. “We’ll look at marijuana.”
The committee is also going to be monitoring the use of prescription pain killers during the season. This is all part of the initial discussions leading up to the new collective bargaining agreement, with the existing agreement only in place through the 2020 season.