PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Former Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long opened up about his marijuana use during an interview on “The Dan Patrick Show” on Wednesday. Long, who announced his retirement from the NFL earlier this week, said he enjoyed his “fair share on a regular basis” during his career.
“I certainly enjoyed my fair share on a regular basis throughout my career,” Long said. “I was never afraid to say that, but I’m able to say it more explicitly now. 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 noted that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and tobacco.
“We should be headed to a place where we allow players to enjoy what I wouldn’t even call a drug. It’s far less dangerous than guzzling a fifth of alcohol and going out after a game,” the two-time Super Bowl champ said. “Chances are the player won’t even make it to the club to do this sort of thing we all kind of wag our finger at when we hear about a guy getting into a fight or a DUI, you’re never gonna read about him sitting on a couch and binge-watching ‘Game of Thrones’ again.”
Long added the league’s drug testing policy is “arbitrary” and if they were serious about players not smoking marijuana, they would be testing more often.
“The league, speaking plainly, knows damn well what they are doing. Testing players once a year for street drugs, which is a terrible classification for marijuana, is kind of silly because players know when the test is, we can stop, and in that month or two that you stopped, you’re going to reach for the sleeping pills, you’re going to reach for the pain killers, you’re going to reach for the bottle a little bit more. On the weekend you’re going to have a few more drinks, and a few turns into a few too many. It’s just not the same,” said Long.
Long announced on Twitter Sunday he was leaving the game. The 33-year-old son of Hall of Famer Howie Long had 70 career sacks and 15 forced fumbles in stints with the Rams, Patriots and 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.
“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.”
He established the Chris Long Foundation in 2015 to impact communities nationally and internationally through programs focusing on clean water, military appreciation, and youth education.
In 2017, Long donated his entire salary to support education in cities where he has played: St. Louis, Boston and Philadelphia.
Last year, Long climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with other NFL players and some U.S. military veterans to raise money to build clean water wells for East Africa.
He was the second overall pick in the 2008 draft by the Rams out of Virginia. Long spent his first eight seasons in St. Louis before signing with New England as a free agent in 2016. He played his final two seasons with Philadelphia after joining the Eagles as a free agent.
“Chris was everything that we thought he was and even more — not only as a great player for our football team, but also in the community,” the Eagles said in a statement posted on their website. “There aren’t many players who can say they won back-to-back Super Bowls and the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
“He accomplished both with class and grace. There’s no question that his work ethic combined with his unique talent made him into one of the greatest of this era’s professional athletes.”
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)