Ryan Clark: I don’t smoke marijuana, but other NFL players do to ease pain

Ryan Clark

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark says some NFL players smoke marijuana to relieve pain and manage stress.

“I know guys on my team who smoke,” Clark said Thursday morning on ESPN’s ‘First Take.’ “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.”

Clark agreed with recent comments by New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who the league’s testing system isn’t all that effective.

“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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