Martellus Bennett estimates that nearly 90 percent of NFL players smoke marijuana

Recently retired NFL tight end Martellus Bennett always was outspoken during his playing career, so it shouldn't come as a surprise to see Bennett remain honest and vocal during retirement. On Wednesday, Bennett didn't just tell "Good Morning Football" on NFL Network that Jon Kitna was his favorite quarterback to play with -- seriously -- he also told "The Simms And Lefkoe Podcast" on Bleacher Report that nearly 90 percent of NFL players use marijuana.

When Bennett was asked if over or under 70 percent of NFL players smoke weed, he answered with "over" before estimating the actual figure to be somewhere around 89 percent. Bennett, who played for the Cowboys, Giants, Bears, Patriots, and Packers during his 10-year career, explained that many players use it to take care of their bodies.

"There's medical marijuana," Bennett said. "So it's like, there's times of the year where your body just hurts so bad that you don't want to just be popping pills all the time. That sh--, it ruins your liver. There's a lot of these anti-inflammatories that you take for so long that like, it starts to eat at your liver or your kidneys and things like that. And a human made that. God made weed."

This is hardly the first time an NFL player has advocated for the use of marijuana instead of painkillers. Marijuana remains a banned substance in the NFL -- in 2017, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell expressed concern over its "addictive nature" -- even though 29 states and Washington DC allow for the use of medical marijuana, according to Vox.com. In recent years, countless players have asked for the NFL to allow them to manage injuries that come from the inherently violent nature of the sport by using marijuana. And many have been outspoken against the league's reliance on painkillers. Brett Favre once said he took a month's worth of painkillers in two days and Calvin Johnson revealed that trainers handed out painkillers "like candy."

"For people like me, marijuana is a godsend because you don't want to take these pills," former NFL offensive lineman Ryan O'Callaghan told USA Today Sports in August. "Marijuana is not addicting. People who say that have never smoked it. I have an addictive personality. It's not addictive."

Though the NFL doesn't appear to be at a point where it's close to reversing its policy, it does appear to be trending toward that point. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones reportedly wants the league to "drop its prohibition on marijuana use." A year ago, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said that the current system needs to be "heavily scrutinized." In August, the league offered to work with the NFL Players Association on a study that looks into marijuana as a pain-management tool.

The current collective bargaining agreement expires in 2021, which is when the issue might get addressed.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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