The world has changed dramatically in recent years when it comes to attitudes regarding marijuana. When running back Ricky Williams entered the NFL in 1999, viewpoints and laws were very different. But players still used marijuana then, as they do now, to manage pain.
Williams shared two stories with USA Today regarding marijuana use during his career.
“My rookie year, a Hall of Fame player on the team, he’s in the Hall of Fame now, invited me over to his house and he gave me the speech about how to take care of yourself in the NFL,” Williams said “And he pulled out some cannabis, crushed it up, split a blunt, opened it up, put the cannabis in there, took a Vicodin, crushed it up, sprinkled the Vico in there, rolled up the blunt and passed it to me. That was a vet, teaching me as a rookie, how to take care of myself in the NFL.”
The only Hall of Fame player on the 1999 Saints was tackle Willie Roaf.
Fast forward to 2011. That was Williams’s one and only season in Baltimore.
“My last year in the NFL, I was playing for the Ravens,” Williams said. “And one point we were in the playoffs and I was leaving the facility and there were guys coming in with a plate full of brownies. They [were] going to go watch film, so yeah. . . . And now, because it’s more legal, it’s to the point, why wouldn’t you [use it] if you’re in the NFL?”
The league no longer suspends players who aren’t already in the program for testing positive. And it’s easy to avoid testing positive because players know when the window opens on annual testing. After that, it’s essentially a non-issue, as long as some basic level of discretion is exercised.
Such as, you know, not talking quite as candidly about marijuana use as Williams currently is. At least not until after the player has retired.