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Fair or not, former NFL running back Ricky Williams is arguably as well-known for his admitted drug use than he is for his abundance of accomplishments – which includes a Heisman Trophy – on the football field.
Some of that drug use, from a medicinal standpoint, was encouraged upon Williams by a former New Orleans Saints teammate when the running back was still a rookie.
“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 told USA Today Sports’ For The Win.
He continued: “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.”
— For The Win (@ForTheWin) July 19, 2022
Williams, who played for the Saints from 1999-2001, didn’t confirm or deny whether he followed the veteran’s advice, but one could take a reasonable guess as to what he did next.
“That was a vet, teaching me as a rookie, how to take care of myself in the NFL,” Williams added.
Now 45, Williams is hoping the league continues to relax their drug testing policies and becomes more open to the fact that players regularly use cannabis and other drugs as a form of pain and anxiety relief.
That’s something Williams noted was already on players’ minds as far back as 2011, his final NFL season. “My last year in the NFL, I was playing for the Ravens,” remembered Williams. “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?”
That’s something the league is having a tough time tackling – a feeling often shared by those opponents who lined up across from Williams during his 11 NFL seasons.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF