PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Former Eagles defensive end Chris Long has never shied away from providing commentary on political and social issues — to supporting Malcolm Jenkins during his national anthem demonstrations to donating his game checks to charity throughout his playing career. Three months ago, he revealed that he smoked his “fair share” of marijuana too.
On Tuesday, Long doubled down on his support for marijuana but made it clear he’s not speaking for the National Football League Players Association or about collective bargaining agreement negotiations during an interview on Sports Illustrated Now, a 30-minute digital talk show.
He once again called the league’s marijuana drug testing policy “arbitrary.”
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) August 27, 2019
“I don’t speak on behalf of the PA or nothing like that. I just think it’s dumb,” Long said. “I think it’s arbitrary. You’re tarnishing the brand and popularity of some guys who could be great stars in the league, but you’re making them these poster children for the devil’s lettuce when you pop them with a test.
“It’s pointless. These are good people. I’m a good person and I smoke weed.”
Long spent two seasons with the Eagles and won the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2018 for outstanding community service. He played a key role for the Birds during their Super Bowl 2017 season. Long won back-to-back Super Bowls, first with the Patriots in 2017 and then the Eagles (beating the Pats) in 2018.
In 2015, Long created the Chris Long Foundation, a nonprofit organization aimed at impacting communities by spotlighting clean water, youth education and military appreciation.
“The point that I’m able to make is — and I’m cognizant of this fact — I’m Walter Payton Man of the Year. People think I’m a community guy,” Long said. “I have a family who I love very much. I think I’m a great father, hopefully because that’s the No. 1 thing you want to be.
“I was always on time. I always worked my butt off. I was durable. And listen — I smoke weed. That’s just part of who I am. At the end of the day that just came up and I think people took it, for one, they extrapolated that because some players smoke, that I’m in a tremendous amount of pain, that’s why I’m smoking.
“Also that I tricked, that I was bragging about beating, gaming the system or beating the test. People misunderstand fundamentally that there’s only one test a year. So whenever I would say something outlandish, a tweet reply would be, ‘incoming random drug test.’ What are they going to test me for, steroids?”
Long alluded to Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid claiming that he was “randomly” drug tested eight times during his first 11 weeks with the team last December. Long highlighted those tests are part of the league’s performance-enhancing drugs protocol.
The NFL’s drug testing for marijuana occurs once a year between April and August.
“You only get tested in a window for it. It’s kind of arbitrary,” Long said. “At the end of the day, I know countless young players who go out after games, get banged up, dehydrated. They’re already trying to recover from a football game. You’re just throwing gas on a fire. You’re probably more likely to get into trouble.
“[Marijuana’s] just much less dangerous. It’s helped me in my career and my personal life. Also, I just enjoy it. Why isn’t that enough?”