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Ricky Williams believes 60-70% of NFL players smoke marijuana

The former NFL running back opened up in a new SI Films documentary and an accompanying longform story.

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Former NFL running back Ricky Williams believes  60-70% of NFL players smoke marijuana, he told SI’s Greg Bishop 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.

Williams, who was suspended multiple times for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, including for the entire 2006 season, has become an advocate for the legalization of marijuana since his playing career.

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He is hoping that the NFL will be open to seeing marijuana as a safer alternative for pain management than league-prescribed opioids. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said he is open to changing his stance on marijuana as more information becomes available. 

• Ricky Williams says he took at least 500 drug tests in his career

Williams, 39, believes that some coaches are also using the drug.

Williams told SI he thinks that marijuana will be legalized across the nation in his lifetime—currently four states allow recreational use of the substance—and that he plans to start growing his own plants.