Posted February 06, 2014

Ryan Clark: NFL players need pot to relieve pain, manage stress

NFL
Ryan Clark (George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

Ryan Clark, a 12-year NFL veteran, won Super Bowl XLIII with the Steelers. (George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

Pro Bowl safety and ESPN analyst Ryan Clark said some NFL players, including Steelers teammates, smoke marijuana as a way to relieve pain and manage stress.

“I know guys on my team who smoke,” Clark said on ESPN’s “First Take” on Thursday. “And it’s not a situation where you think, ‘Oh, these are guys trying to be cool.’ These are guys who want to do it recreationally.

“A lot of it is stress relief. A lot of it is pain and medication. Guys feel like, ‘If I can do this, it keeps me away from maybe Vicodin, it keeps me away from pain prescription drugs and things that guys get addicted to.’ Guys look at this as a more natural way to heal themselves, to stress relieve and also to medicate themselves for pain. Guys are still going to do it.”

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Clark also agreed with Antonio Cromartie’s assertion that the league should scrap marijuana testing because the players are going to smoke it regardless.

“It’s 100 percent true. They’re fighting a losing battle. The testing isn’t stringent,” Clark said. “There is one random test during OTAs and minicamps during the offseason, and everybody will be tested early in training camp. After that, there are no more tests. So guys understand the ways to get around failing a drug test.”

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10 comments
Paul72
Paul72

There is a basic cultural shift in regards to marijuana in America, legalization in Colorado and Washington are perfect examples.  To say pot is safe is a bit simplistic and naive.  I smoke marijuana, but I also understand inhaling any burned plant matter can't be good for the lungs, for instance.  However, there are other ways to consume it, but it's not like the reason the NFL bans it is to protect their players' lungs anyway.  Weed can help with a multitude of disorders running the gamut from physical to mental.  The ban is silly, especially when it is obvious (as stated by some players) that the policy is completely ineffective.  Those who will do it, will do it and those who won't, won't--regardless of the policies in place.  It is weird that the institutions enforcing drug policies (sports leagues, governements, etc.) seem to care not at all whether their anti-drug polices are even the least bit effective.  You would think efficacy of the policies would be of paramount concern, but it's not--at least on pot.

Martinez
Martinez

I am claiming ignorance on this matter.  I never knew smoking weed was so important to so many people's lives.  So it really is a miracle drug for people suffering from all kinds of ailments, from anxiety, migraines, trauma, stress, Glaucoma, cancer, etc.  All I ever remember about weed was from Cheech and Chong, every non-original stand up comedians "bit" and campy teenage humor movies...   

bravesfan8604
bravesfan8604

On the one hand, I would have to agree that marijuana can help with pain, and I would also like to see some testing done to see if marijuana can help with the effects of Post-Concussive Syndrome (PCS).  There are some good things that come out of marijuana use.  On the other hand, I don't think smoking before a game is the best option.  I remember attending a homecoming game at my high school alma mater in which a vast majority of the starting lineup was eventually expelled for smoking weed in the locker room before the game.  They lost 49-0.  We have to look at the context in which it is used.

PalmTres
PalmTres

Well as long as they are buying illegal substances to help with pain I guess they should be allowed to buy oxycontin and heroin too. Possibly the dumbest argument I have ever heard.  How about it's ok to drive 100mph if you're late for something.  Or it's ok to shoot someone if you are really, really mad at them. 

JoeyCage
JoeyCage

He's right. The NHL doesn't test for pot, why is the NFL even messing with it? 

PalmTres
PalmTres

...and get high and act a fool.

PalmTres
PalmTres

@JoeyCage  I guess the NHL has arrived if the NFL is comparing themselves to the NHL now.

PalmTres
PalmTres

@JoeyCage  The NHL also doesn't stop play every single 10 seconds.  If the NFL wants to copy something about the NHL don't stop play constantly.

PalmTres
PalmTres

@Joe R2 @PalmTres  

Nah, they're acting the fool, they are just high and don't think they are, cuz you know, they're high.