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Admitted Marijuana Use by Top NFL Picks Does Not Affect Draft Status

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Calvin Johnson, Gaines Adams, Amobi Okoye Go in Top Ten

A week ago, three premier NCAA football stars admitted to using marijuana, and many analysts wondered whether or not their decision to be honest would affect their status in the 2007 NFL Draft. All three players were selected in the top ten Saturday afternoon, silencing critics that questioned whether honesty was truly the best policy in this case.

In a Pro Football Weekly column printed last Thursday, the three blossoming young stars admitted that they had tried the illegal substance at one point in their lives. Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who was widely accepted as the best player in this year's college crop, was the highest profile player of the three who admitted prior use. He was drafted number two overall by the Detroit Lions. Apparently, his work ethic, character, and honesty overruled any worries Lions executives had about Johnson's drug issues. Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams also claimed to have smoked pot a a teenager, but he was taken as the first defensive player in the draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the number four slot. Adams is the Bucs' likely heir to the pass-rushing end spot held by Pro Bowler Simeon Rice, who has only one year remaining on his contract. Louisville defensive tackle Amobi Okoye, a 6'2'' 300 lb. star, admitted that he tried the illegal substance in high school. Okoye is only 19 years old, and he is the youngest player ever to be drafted into the NFL. He entered high school at age 12, and was a freshman at Louisville by the time he was 16. Okoye was taken number ten overall by the Houston Texans, who bolstered their defensive line for the second year in a row (they selected DE Mario Williams with the first pick in last year's draft). Before the players announced at the NFL scouting combine that they had smoked marijuana, all three were expected to be drafted in the top ten- and that proved to be exactly what happened on Saturday in New York.

Because the three answered honestly, some analysts claimed that the players' draft status should not be affected. Most players would have lied when asked that question to avoid the onslaught of media attention. In fact, Almost 80% of all Americans try marijuana by the time they are 21, according to a report by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Athletes are not exempt from this statistic, and it is incorrect to assume that many more players selected in this draft haven't smoked the substance than have admitted it. The NFL does test for marijuana, and none of the three currently use the substance which generally finds its way out of the body in less than a month or so. Had the players slid down out of the top ten, they stood to lose millions of dollars in guaranteed salary and possible advertisement endorsements.

Judging by previous drafts and the increase in the NFL's salary cap, all three players will likely receive very lucrative contracts. As the second pick, Johnson will probably sign for around $60 million dollars, with about $30 million guaranteed. Adams, as the franchise's future defensive stud, will probably ink an offer sheet of close to $50 million. It is likely that Houston's Okoye will join the roster for upwards of $30 million.

New NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has had his hands full while trying to clean up the image of his league. Cincinnati wide receiver Travis Henry and Tennessee corner back Adam "Pacman" Jones are both being suspended this season for off-the-field problems. Henry's punishment is pending, and Jones has already been told that he will not be welcome in the NFL for the duration of the 16 game season. The idea of having to deal with three up-and-coming stars with drug problems was certainly not something Goodell wanted to think about. It appears that NFL scouts did not take much stake in the players' admitting to marijuana usage, however. "If a kid just used pot once or twice, that's not a big deal," said one NFL assistant. One general manager told the media last week "If they have a problem, we're going to find out...These guys were honest and they don't have a problem that we can see. Now we're going to punish them? That would be pretty stupid."

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Source: Associated Content
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Copyright: 2007 Associated Content, Inc.
Website: Admitted Marijuana Use by Top NFL Picks Does Not Affect Draft Status
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