Had NFL been more accepting of marijuana, Ricky Williams believes he would be in Canton

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At The University of Texas, Ricky Williams became one of the best running backs in college football history with 7,206 yards from scrimmage and 75 touchdowns. In 1998, he set 21 NCAA records, rushed for 2,124 yards and 27 touchdowns and won the Heisman Trophy with the greatest percentage of first-place votes in history.

Williams said he began smoking marijuana his senior season after breaking up with a girlfriend who began dating a quarterback on the team.

“I wouldn’t have won the Heisman without [marijuana],” Williams told Greg Bishop of SI.com.

But Williams, 44, isn’t in the Pro Football Hall of Fame because of his marijuana use.

The NFL suspended Williams five times in his NFL career for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. He missed two full seasons.

As it was, Williams finished his 11-year NFL career with 10,009 rushing yards and 74 total touchdowns.

Williams told Bishop he believes he would have earned induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame had pro sports been more accepting and more understanding of marijuana. “But he rejects the notion that he should have sought only money and celebrity,” Bishop writes. “To him, a bust in Canton without the rest of what he calls ‘my path’ would have been an unfulfilled life. He says he would have ‘hated myself.’”

Williams has become an advocate of marijuana usage for professional athletes, recently defending track star Sha’Carri Richardson, who was suspended after testing positive for marijuana at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

He is working on his own strain of cannabis called “Highsmith.”

19 responses to “Had NFL been more accepting of marijuana, Ricky Williams believes he would be in Canton

  1. It wasn’t up to the NFL. If he could have stayed away from it and played, he might have been in the HOF. His choice.

  2. Or if he could have just put down the kind bud during the season, he may have made it to Canton.

  3. Former Athletes seem to always want to be in the news and gain sympathy. Ricky Williams and Megatron come to mind.

  4. I’m sure many others would say they would be in HOF if the NFL was accepting of ‘Performance Enhancing drugs’…..

  5. I would listen to arguments that he should go into the Hall despite his marijuana-shortened career. He was a phenomenal back, and had a couple of dominant seasons. If any of his teams had been more successful, I could see it. He knew the rules. He broke the rules. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a great football player.

  6. The comments pro players state about marijuana are pointless. Federally it is still illegal. Personal feelings set aside on the topic… They sign a contract knowing full well it is an illegal substance they cannot use while being affiliated with The NFL. How about some personal accountability.

  7. Please. The guy was a good RB, but nothing more. Still one of the worst trades ever.

    Ricky Williams loves him some Ricky Williams. Corey Dillon can’t even get into Canton and he was much better than you.

  8. It’s true, he was a beast. Weed is far less harmful then the opioids the team docs are pushing on them for pain management.

  9. Had Ricky just waited to get stoned he would be in canton and probably. A lot richer

  10. See how it affects the brain? He can’t understand that it’s the other way around– if he wasn’t on weed he might be in the HOF.

  11. Just stop it Ricky! You didn’t have the heart to make it to Canton! You quit on yourself,your teammates,and your profession. It wasn’t the pot,it was you! You didn’t want to work at it,so you put the blame on your crutch. In college it came easy,but when you got to the NFL it was real work and preparation to get it done and you couldn’t handle it.

  12. Even without missing any time I doubt he would have made the HOF. Solid running back but not an elite performer everyone will talk about for 50 years or more. There are backs that played less time and made the HOF because they were elite talent.

  13. This isnt the first time he has come out saying that to anyone who will listen. You were the man, but you broke the rules and the law. However, when you compare his career to Terell Davis’ “HOF” career he has a case to make it in even with his abbreviated career.

  14. Shame on people blaming Ricky… marijuana being illegal is as dumb as making ibuprofen or cough medicine illegal… it’s far less toxic than alcohol or tobacco … has anyone ever been suspended or banned for casual use of either of those?

    That being said… Ricky is 100% right.. if he wasn’t a scapegoat he’d easily be in the HOF..he retired with over 10k yards and 70+ TD’s… add 3 more prime years to that.. he’s what.. Emmitt Smith? Adrian Peterson? Easily matches HOFers like Earl Campbell and Tony Dorsett. Ricky is probably the most misunderstood athlete in pro sports history…

    oh and PS.. I’ve smooked weed only once in my life and don’t even like the stuff… I just think its incredible dumb to be illegal on any level.

  15. tyelee says:
    July 6, 2021 at 4:19 pm
    I’m sure many others would say they would be in HOF if the NFL was accepting of ‘Performance Enhancing drugs’…..


    Could you name me a single performance enhancing benefit marijuana gives a professional athlete?

  16. People who have never smoked pot love to say “He should have just not smoked pot” but there’s clearly more to it with Ricky Williams. This is a dude who had such bad social anxiety that he would throw on his helmet before postgame interviews when he was with the Saints. The reality of pot is that most kids who start smoking it early are doing so to self-medicate, because they don’t know of any other options to deal with their stress. It’s currently fully legal in 15 states, available medically in 48 of 50 states. These days will one day look silly, like prohibition.

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