Mark Brunell: Marijuana Has No Place in NFL; Veteran Ryan Clark Disagrees

February 7, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

Mark Brunell says marijuana “has no place in the NFL,” but others, including Pittsburgh Steelers veteran Ryan Clark, disagree.

The topic has been increasingly talked about following the legalization in Colorado and Washington of the drug and admissions by current and former football NFL players that they or teammates smoke weed.

Brunell, a retired quarterback and current ESPN analyst, said that marijuana is harmful and hurts brain function and development.

“Marijuana can ruin lives. I’m very much against it,” he said.

He also said that the league should test for the drug randomly, and more often.

Ryan Clark of the Pittsburgh Steelers weighed in, saying that he knows guys on his team that smoke.

“And it’s not a situation where you think, ‘Oh, these are guys trying to be cool.’ These are guys who want to do it recreationally,” he said.

“A lot of it is stress relief. A lot of it is pain and medication. Guys feel like, ‘If I can do this, it keeps me away from maybe Vicodin, it keeps me away from pain prescription drugs and things that guys get addicted to.’ Guys look at this as a more natural way to heal themselves, to stress relieve and also to medicate themselves for pain. Guys are still going to do it.”

Clark later added on Twitter that he doesn’t and won’t smoke marijuana, but that the reality is some NFL players are going to use it.

The comments come after New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie suggested the NFL is waging a lost war against the drug because the testing system isn’t effective.

“Guys understand the ways to get around failing a drug test,” Cormartie said.

Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the issue last Friday, saying that the league isn’t planning to allow marijuana anytime soon.

“It is still an illegal substance on a national basis,” he noted, despite the full or partial legalization in some states.

“We’ll continue to follow the medicine. Our experts right now are not indicating that we should change our policy in any way. We are not actively considering that at this point in time. But if it goes down the road sometime, that’s something that we would never take off the table.”

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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