Chris Long retired from the Eagles via an Instagram post on Saturday night.
By Wednesday, he was already dishing about his NFL experience on the radio, including his use of marijuana while playing.
“I certainly enjoyed my fair share on a regular basis throughout my career,” the defensive lineman said in a call-in appearance on the Dan Patrick Show. “I was never afraid to say that, but I’m able to say it more explicitly now.”
Patrick brought up Long’s previous advocacy for medical marijuana. He asked what Long thought things would be like for Ricky Williams if Williams were playing in 2019 and not the 2000s. Williams was suspended from the NFL a number of times after positive drug tests. He left the NFL in 2011 and started his own company focused on cannabidiol and wellness products last year.
Long said that reform in the NFL was long overdue.
“We should be headed to a place where we allow players to enjoy what I would not even call a drug,” he argued.
“It’s far less dangerous than guzzling a fifth of alcohol and going out after a game. Chances are the player won’t even make it to the club,” Long said, laughing.
He said players would be far less likely to get in a fight at a club or be charged with a DUI.
“You’re never going to read about him sitting on the couch and binge-watching Game of Thrones. ... I think, from a standpoint of what’s safer for the people and the player, certainly people in the spotlight ... it is far less harmful than alcohol, it is far less harmful than tobacco.”
Long said he used marijuana to help deal less with pain and more with the “stresses of day-to-day NFL life.”
But what about testing? Patrick asked Long how the 35-year-old avoided a reprimand.
“I think the testing is arbitrary,” Long said. "The league, speaking plainly, knows damn well what they’re doing.
“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 you know, in that month or two when you stop you’re going to reach for the sleeping pills, you’re going to reach for the painkillers, 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 two many and, you know, it’s just not the same.”
He argued that the NFL isn’t actually trying to address players using marijuana.
“If you’re serious about players not smoking, you’d be testing more often. I hope they go the opposite direction and realize how arbitrary doing that one test a year is.”