Ricky Williams smoked weed during his NFL career. This isn't news; the league suspended him for four-games in 2004, which he temporarily avoided by retiring. What is news, however, is that Williams routinely smoke marijuana before games, according to former teammate Channing Crowder.
“Remember that Buffalo game, the 200-yard game?” Crowder said during an appearance on WQAM radio in Miami (via PFT). “Smoked the night before. Talk to Ricky. He was doing it, that's what he did. Ricky has social anxiety and he smoked weed. Ricky's marijuana didn't affect the team until he got caught smoking. … Him smoking weed, sitting at his house smoking weed, didn't affect anybody but Ricky. He got high and then he sobered up and then he went to practice the next day.”
The Buffalo game in question took place on Dec. 1, 2002 -- three years before Crowder joined the Dolphins, by the way -- and Williams rushed for 228 yards on 27 carries (8.4 YPC) and scored two touchdowns. Williams followed up that performance with a 216-yard effort against the Bears the following week.
Dolphins beat reporter Adam Beasley caught up with Crowder on Thursday and he clarified a few things from his radio interview.
Just heard from Channing Crowder, re: Ricky Williams smoking pot. He claims he never said Ricky regularly smoked the night before games.— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) September 5, 2013
I didn't hear the item that several media outlets have picked up on, but Crowder said he was talking "big picture" about the issue.— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) September 5, 2013
According to DrugAbuse.gov, in 2009, approximately 5.5 percent of Americans used marijuana. It's reasonable to think that usage among NFL players mirrors that number, which is why Crowder's comments aren't particularly surprising, despite the league's stance on marijuana use.
But as PFT's Mike Florio points out, players not in the NFL's substance-abuse program are tested once a year for marijuana. And after being tested, those players are free to smoke their brains out until they are tested again 12 months later. Which is apparently what Ricky Williams did.