Ravens player says NFL should reconsider benefits of marijuana

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has made it clear in recent years that the league has no plans to revise its policy on marijuana, even as states across the country move to legalize it. Ravens offensive tackle Eugene Monroe thinks the NFL should reconsider that stance due to the possible benefits as it relates to pain relief and maybe even concussions.

If you play professional football, "your job automatically gives you the symptom of chronic pain," Monroe told CNN.com.

"You're hitting each other as hard as possible every single day in practice. Your body is in pain a lot of time," Monroe said.

And while there are legal pain relievers available to the players, Monroe said the fear of addiction is a concern.

"All over our country people are addicted, and that's happening in our locker rooms."

Goodell conceded during Super Bowl week that there have been scientific developments about marijuana usage but that won't change how the league views the drug.

Roger Goodell says the NFL hasn't changed its stance on marijuana. (USATSI)
Roger Goodell and the NFL haven't changed their stance on marijuana use. (USATSI)

"I agree there has been changes, but not significant enough changes that our medical personnel have changed their view," he said. "Until they do, then I don't expect that we will change our view. ...

"We always review our drug policy," Goodell added. "That is something that our medical professionals do on a regular basis. We are not restricted, obviously, by the state laws. It's an NFL policy and we believe it's the correct policy for now and in the best interest of our players and the long-term health of our players."

Obviously, Monroe disagrees.

"The NFL will need to have legitimate information before they remove marijuana from the banned substance list and ultimately not hurt their product in the field," he said. "But there's opportunity in that space also, for the NFL to get involved and maybe lead efforts."

And the NFLPA disagrees too.

"Marijuana is currently a banned substance under the collectively bargained Substances of Abuse Policy. Both parties to the policy (NFL and NFLPA) seek guidance from the independent medical professionals who administer the policy, and no change to marijuana's status as a banned substance has been recommended by those medical professionals."

For now, the NFL remains firm but Monroe hopes that will change.

"The NFL will need to have legitimate information before they remove marijuana from the banned substance list and ultimately not hurt their product on the field," Monroe said. "But there's opportunity in that space also, for the NFL to get involved and maybe lead efforts."

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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