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Long admits marijuana use, points to flaws in NFL testing

FILE PHOTO: Feb 3, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long walks the sidelines before Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Recently retired defensive end Chris Long admits to using marijuana as an NFL player, saying that the league should move toward a place where testing positive does not result in a suspension.

"I certainly enjoyed my fair share on a regular basis throughout my career. I was never afraid to say that, but I'm able to say it more explicitly now," Long said of his marijuana use on The Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday.

"Listen, if not for that, I'm not as capable of coping with the stressors of day-to-day NFL life. A lot of guys get a lot of pain management out of it."

Long, 34, announced his retirement Saturday night. He made 70 career sacks in 11 NFL seasons with the St. Louis Rams (2008-2015), New England Patriots (2006) and Philadelphia Eagles (2017-18). He was the second overall pick in the 2008 draft.

The NFL announced earlier this week that the league and the NFL Players Association have created a committee that "will establish uniform standards for club practices and policies regarding pain management and the use of prescription medication by NFL players as well as conduct research concerning pain management and alternative therapies."

Dr. Allen Sills, the league's chief medical officer, told the Washington Post: "We'll look at marijuana."

"We should be headed to a place where we allow players to enjoy what I would not even call a drug," Long said. "It's far less dangerous than guzzling a fifth of alcohol and going out after a game.

"I think from a standpoint of what's safer for people and the player, certainly people in the spotlight, 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 with those respective industries."

Long said he was able to easily beat once-a-year testing by the NFL.

"Players know when the test is. We can stop," Long said.

"In that month or two that you stop, you're going to reach for the sleeping pills, you're going to reach for the pain killers and you're going to reach for the bottle a little bit more. ... If you're serious about players not smoking, you'd be testing more often. I hope they go the opposite direction and just kind of realize how arbitrary doing that one test a year is."

--Field Level Media