Ricky Williams was a dynamic running back who endured a lot of punishment during his career. With all that punishment that he’s taken, many asked how he was able to uphold a career that lasted as long as it did. Lucky for us, he’s revealed his secret.
While speaking to USA Today’s “Sports Seriously,” Williams shared his secret to the longevity of his career, and while many players today would die to have this remedy, ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith would simply die hearing about it.
“I played a long time ago, and I played for a long time. So things have changed a lot when I first got into the league,” Williams said.
“My rookie year, a Hall of Fame player on the team — he’s in the Hall of Fame now — invited me over to his house and he gave me the speech about how to take care of yourself in the NFL. And he pulled out some cannabis, crushed it up, split a blunt, opened it up, put the cannabis in there, took a Vicodin, crushed it up, sprinkled the Vico in there, rolled up the blunt and passed it to me. That was a vet, teaching me as a rookie, how to take care of myself in the NFL.”
The use of cannabis was vital to Williams’ longevity in the NFL, and though many argue that his method was unethical, he says it worked. Ricky Williams was your quintessential workhorse running back, averaging 16.5 rushing attempts per game in his career — and over 20 in his prime years as a running back with New Orleans and Miami — there is no question he took plenty of hits.
While back then the use of weed was strictly prohibited by the NFL, Williams and plenty of other players admittedly smoked weed to help with their rehab and pain tolerance. They also used it to help with their mental health, as many professional athletes deal with different mental issues and ordeals.
In the current NFL, cannabis is legal under strict NFL rules. In March 2020, they came up with a new policy regarding the use of marijuana and other particular drugs, and will no longer suspend players who test positive for weed.
“NFL players no longer face the possibility of being suspended from games over positive tests for any drug—not just marijuana—under a collective bargaining agreement. Instead, they will face a fine. The threshold for what constitutes a positive THC test was also increased under the deal.” according to Marijuanamoment.net
Many players now are allowed the freedom of smoking weed to help with their health from playing football, a luxury Williams wasn’t able to have in his time. In fact, Williams was even suspended in 2006 for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. In total Williams was suspended five times due to these violations, and missed out on two full seasons in his career.
Williams believes that because he was marijuana friendly, that kept him out of Canton. While speaking to NBC, the former Pro Bowl player revealed that the league didn’t put him in the Hall of Fame because they didn’t fully understand marijuana and the good it could do for players.
He even claimed that without weed he wouldn’t have experienced as much collegiate success as he did.
“I wouldn’t have won the Heisman without [marijuana],” Williams told Greg Bishop of SI.com.
It seems that without weed, the NFL would’ve never been able to experience Ricky Williams either. He played his best football while smoking weed, and was able to keep his body together playing a position that the average player would only see three years playing at.
While he thinks his utilization of marijuana is what kept him out of Canton, he won’t keep it out of his life. Ricky Williams now owns a cannabis company known as “Highsman”, and this seems to be his venture that he is most passionate about. Say what you want, but weed has been able to keep some of our favorite players on the field and perform for us.
This was the same case for Ricky Williams, who may go down as one of the greatest running backs of all time not in the Hall of Fame.