Ricky Williams believes marijuana can help save the NFL

Ricky Williams is an advocate of smoking marijuana and believes that the NFL needs to get its head out of the clouds on the issue.

Williams has said he left the NFL because he wanted to skip the drug-testing requirements that came with it. Now he's advocating the medical benefits of cannabis, saying that the drug helped him with the pain of playing.

Appearing on a panel of former NFL players (including Kyle Turley) at the 2016 SoCal Medical Cannabis Cup, Williams said — in a forum titled “How Cannabis Will Save the NFL” — marijuana became his coping drug of choice.

"I played a position where I got beat up a lot," Williams said. "A couple years I led the NFL in carries, and somehow I was able to recover through the week. I got to a point in my career where I realized, ‘I’m not going to be able to do this much longer.’

“The teams don’t care, you know, they weren’t trying to take care of me. So, I had to take care of myself. One of the ways I took care of myself was using cannabis.”

Williams ran for 10,009 yards on 2,431 carries in his career, twice leading the league in carries and once in rushing, for the New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens. He tested positive for marijuana several times in his career before stepping away after the 2011 season. Now we know why.

“I’d go see the doctor, he’d give me some anti-inflammatories, some pain pills, and just try to rest,” Williams said. “That’s it. ... I think there’s a better way.”

And that way involves favoring medical marijuana, which is legal in a handful of states with a prescription, over pills, which are legal in every state with a doctor's prescription.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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