Two-time Super Bowl winner Chris Long has admitted using marijuana for pain management while he was an NFL player.
Long, 34, has spoken out after announcing his retirement on Saturday and says positive tests should not necessarily result in a suspension.
Dr Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, this week told the Washington Post: “We’ll look at marijuana.”
“A lot of guys get a lot of pain management out of it,” Long said in a television interview on Wednesday.
“If not for that, I’m not as capable of coping with the stressors of day-to-day NFL life.
“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 played 11 seasons in the NFL as a defensive end with the St Louis Rams, the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles.
The NFL announced on Monday 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”.
Long, who won Super Bowls 51 and 52 with the Patriots and then the Eagles, said he was able to beat the current once-a-year testing by the NFL.
“Players know when the test is. We can stop,” he 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.
“We should be headed to a place where we allow players to enjoy what I would not even call a drug,” Long added. “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.”