This year’s Super Bowl teams, the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, just happen to play in the two states that have legalized the use of marijuana for recreational use.
So when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told USA Today about the potential exploration of permitting medicinal marijuana use by NFL players, it might have piqued the interest of the Broncos and Seahawks.
But it hasn’t. At least not publicly.
“Well that’s new to me,” Denver defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said. “I wasn’t aware of that. I don’t really get caught up in the whole marijuana thing. I know right now they are trying to do whatever they can to help players post-career and they’re looking into everything. But it’s illegal (in the NFL) right now and it’s something against the rules, so I stay away from that.”
While marijuana use could help players manage pain, Knighton saw some dangers.
“Something like that may be helpful,” Knighton said, “but it is also something that can be abused. So I think that’s why it’s banned and that’s why it’s on the list, because it can be abused and it can backfire. It’s a touchy subject, but whatever is best, they’ll figure it out. Until then, I’m going to follow the rules.”
Former Denver receiver Nate Jackson recently estimated between 50 and 60 percent of players in the NFL use marijuana, but Knighton disagreed.
“I think that’s way too high,” Knighton said. “I don’t know. I really can’t speak on that because it doesn’t involve my personal life, so I can’t speak for other guys.”
Seattle fullback Michael Robinson said marijuana should be explored for treating injured players.
"I think anything that can make our job a little easier without sacrificing our health at the same time is good for the league, it’s good for players," said Robinson. "I’m all for alternative forms of recovery and all those types of things – hyperbaric chambers, o-zoning, whatever it may be. So, I’m all for it. Whatever can help the player, I’m for.”
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said the league should follow Goodell’s lead in exploring marijuana’s medicinal value.
“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. “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. I can only speak for our coaches, and we haven’t debated the thought yet.”