Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Cannabis use is discussed

- Omari Sankofa II: osankofa@post-gazette.com and Twitter @omarisanko­fa.

Giving up marijuana while he was in the program was a no-brainer. But suddenly the aches and bruises became tougher to deal with. It was as if his body was deteriorat­ing.

Once he couldn’t use cannabis, he turned to painkiller­s.

“I go to the training room and I get opiates and anti-inflamator­y’s and whatever else they’re slinging in there,” Herremans said.

It’s not their fault, it’s the only thing they’re allowed to give you. I don’t fault any of my trainers or doctors. Great friends with all of them. But it led to this point where I realized the hypocrisy that was going on in the NFL.”

An ESPN “Outside The Lines” study found that retired NFL players abuse opioid pain medication­s more than four times the rate of the general population. The NFL Players Associatio­n is pushing for a less punitive marijuana policy, as many NFL players use it as a potentiall­y safer method of dealing with pain.

“The fact is, at the end of the day, if you’re not coming out every single day to produce 100 percent of your capability, they’re bringing in somebody to come in and take your job,” Britton said.

“So, that’s a tough environmen­t where you have to do what you have to do to get out of that pain and be able to produce on the practice field throughout the week and on Sundays.”

The NFL and other major sports leagues are doing what they can to solve the issue, Washington said. But it’s not enough.

Through Athletes For CARE, the hope is that the organizati­on can come halfway and help players who need assistance post-retirement.

“We want to fill that gap and we want athletes from every sport there is to come in and know that they can be part of a team, they can be educated,” Washington said.

“That transition is hard for some guys, and we can ease the transition.”

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