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Antonio Cromartie: Players will smoke pot regardless of NFL policy

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated Friday at his Super Bowl press conference that the league had no plans to change its stance on marijuana usage, despite Colorado and Washington recently legalizing the drug.

"This has been something that has been asked several times and I'll try to be as clear as I possibly can: It is still an illegal substance on a national basis," Goodell said. "It's something that's part of our collective bargaining agreement with our players. It's questionable with respect to the positive impact but there is certainly some very strong evidence to the negative impacts, including addiction and other issues."

But on the same day as Goodell's remarks, Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie was asked in an interview if NFL should change its marijuana policy.

"They need to just let it go," Cromartie told Ashlee Ray of This Is 50. "[Players] just going to do it anyway. They just need to let it go. They need to go ahead and say, 'Ya'll go ahead, smoke it, do what you need to do.'"

By Wednesday, Cromartie clarified his comments via Twitter:

It's hard to tell whether Cromartie said "we're" or "players," but either way the point remains: Players will likely continue to smoke marijuana regardless of what the NFL's official stance is.

But there could come a time where the medical community determines that marijuana is beneficial to players recovering from injuries. It's something Seahawks coach Pete Carroll alluded to last week.

“We have to continue to explore and compete to find ways that are going to make our game a better game and take care of our players in the best way possible,” Carroll said at the time. “The fact that it's in the world of medicine is obviously something the Commissioner realizes and him making the expression that we need to follow the information and the research absolutely I'm in support of. Regardless of what other stigmas may be involved, I think we have to do this because the world of medicine is trying to do the exact same thing and figure it out and they're coming to some conclusions.”

For now, marijuana remains on the league's banned substances list.

"We'll continue to follow the medicine," Goodell said. "Our experts right now are not indicating we should change our policy in any way, we are not actively considering that at this point and time. But if it does down the road some time, that's something we would never take off the table if we could benefit our players at the end of the day."

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