Former NFL tight end Martellus Bennett played for five different teams over the course of his 10 seasons, so it’s safe to assume he knows a thing or two about players in the league and their off-the-field habits.
Bennett, who retired this off-season, estimates that 89% of NFL players smoke weed and not just because they enjoy getting stoned and playing video games. While that might be the case for some, Bennett says guys in the league smoke weed because it serves as an alternative to opioid painkillers and other prescription drugs.
“I want to say about 89%,” Bennett said on a Bleacher Report podcast hosted by Chris Simms and Adam Lefkoe.
“There are times of the year where your body just hurts so bad,” Bennett said. “You don’t want to be popping pills all the time. There are anti-inflammatory drugs you take so long that they start to eat at your liver, kidneys and things like that. A human made that. God made weed.”
Medical marijuana is legal in a number of jurisdictions where NFL teams are based, including California and Colorado, but weed remains on the NFL’s banned substance list and two positive tests will result in a suspension. That said, NFL players can only be tested for marijuana and other drugs from April through August and once they pass that test they’re good for a full year.
In a documentary for Uninterrupted last year, former NBA player Al Harrington, who became a cannabis entrepreneur after his 16-year NBA career, estimated that as many as 70% of athletes in major sports smoke weed.