Former NFL tackle Kyle Turley told SI’s Greg Bishop that he believes marijuana saved his life in a longform piece published in this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated.
The piece is a joint production with SI Films, which has produced an exclusive film on Ricky Williams in which he discusses his experience with marijuana use and his support for legalization. The film, “Ricky Williams Takes the High Road,” is the first in-depth look at Williams’s life five years after the end of his NFL career.
During his eight-year NFL career and beyond, Turley became reliant on pain killers, which he believed contributed to his 20-year struggle with depression, anxiety and rage. In 2009, two years after his professional career ended, his wife discovered him trying to jump out of a third-story window.
“Suicidal and homicidal tendencies became part of my daily living,” Turley said. “I couldn’t be around a knife in the kitchen without having an urge to stab someone, including my wife and kids.”
Turley told Bishop that his life turned around when he starting using marijuana in 2015 and stopped taking painkillers.
Both Turley and Ricky Williams, who were teammates on the New Orleans Saints, have become advocates for wider acceptance of marijuana use in the NFL and beyond.