Ricky Williams: 60-to-70 percent of NFL players smoke marijuana

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Marijuana is still a banned substance in the NFL, but it doesn't come as much of a surprise anymore when you hear about a player getting suspended for using it.

But just how many players are using, might surprise you, if what former NFL running back and well known marijuana connoisseur Ricky Williams said in a Sports Illustrated feature is true.

According to Williams, around 60-to-70 percent of NFL players smoke marijuana. More shocking, Williams tells Sports Illustrated that some coaches use it as well.


Williams, who is now a marijuana industry businessman, said he became a regular user of it during his NFL career in part to deal with the injuries and pain from playing football.

Pro Football Talk reports that Williams is apparently not alone, as many players have said they'd prefer to use marijuana for pain management instead of the prescription painkillers they get from team doctors.

Williams' interview points to some of the NFL's challenges in testing for marijuana. One major challenge is how the league goes about collecting urine samples, some of the collectors though have gotten to know the players so well, they have actually assisted them in avoiding a positive test.

While Williams said he was tested more than 500 times during his career, most players are only tested once a year.

Many even know the approximate date of their test – before the season starts – so they are able to use marijuana most of the year then stop in time to clear it out of their systems before the test.

So if the league is going to continue to ban marijuana, they may have to find a better system of testing for it.

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