Chris Long admits to heavy pot use during NFL career

Chris Long, who recently announced his retirement from football, ending an 11-year NFL career that included two Super Bowl titles and the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, took to the airwaves on Wednesday to admit to heavy use of marijuana.

“I certainly enjoyed my fair share on a regular basis through my career,” Long said during an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show. “If not for that, I’m not as capable of coping with the stresses of ... the NFL life.”

He was unapologetic about his use of the drug.

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"It is far less harmful than alcohol. It is far less harmful than tobacco. And at various points in the league’s history, they have engaged in partnerships on different levels in those respective industries,” he said. “We should be headed to a place where we allow players to use what I wouldn’t even call drugs. It’s far less dangerous than players guzzling a fifth of alcohol and going out after a game.”

He also noted how easy it is to beat drug tests in the league.

Drug tests are given once a year at a prearranged date, allowing players to cheat the system.

“In that month or two that you stop, you’re going to reach for the sleeping pills, you’re going to reach for the painkillers and you’re going to reach for the bottle a little bit more,” Long said. “If you’re serious about players not using, you’d be testing more often. I hope they go the opposite direction and just kind of realize how arbitrary that one test is.”

Long, most recently an Eagles defensive lineman, retired on Twitter with a tweet that included a picture of his right hand holding up a red cup with a grassy field, trees and mountains in the background.

“Cheers,” Long wrote. “Been a hell of a journey. Eleven years and I can honestly say I put my soul into every minute of it. Highs and lows. I’ve seen them both and I appreciate the perspective. Gratitude and love to those who lifted me up.”

The 33-year-old son of Hall of Famer Howie Long had 70 career sacks and 15 forced fumbles in stints with the Rams, the Patriots and the Eagles. He won back-to-back championships with the Patriots (2017) and Eagles (2018).

Long was selected last February as the league’s Walter Payton Award recipient for his outstanding community service.

He established the Chris Long Foundation in 2015, with programs focusing on clean water, military appreciation and youth education.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.