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Lombardi's Way - Has the NFL gone up in smoke?

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Has the NFL gone up in smoke?

I’ve had the pleasure of being on the sidelines during Ravens practices. I have knelt with notepad in hand and watched 250 pound chiseled athletes who run at abnormal speeds for bodies that big, race past me from about 5 yards away.

Just a few fleeting seconds after they pass you feel a breeze go by, the byproduct of mass and velocity.

And then you can’t help but be left with the thought, “What if someone that big and that fast hit you when you weren’t looking?”

It happens every Sunday on an NFL field.

Obviously professional football is a violent game. You see it on TV but believe it or not despite the technological advances in television where you can almost smell the grass while watching the game, the violence as seen from your living room doesn’t approach that on the field.

I remember playing flag and touch football in men’s leagues for the better part of a decade from my early 20’s to early 30’s. Towards the end of my “playing career” I recall how my body was sore from Sunday through Thursday and just started feeling better by Friday just so I could go and do it all over again on Saturday.

So I can only imagine what these players feel like after a game.

To put it in perspective, what they put their bodies through is on par with any one of us picking out a mini-van in a parking lot and then running into it at top speed.

That has to hurt, right?

I thought about this today when I woke up and saw a Tweet about veteran offensive lineman Lomas Brown who shared with the Detroit News that 50% of the players in the NFL smoke pot.

If true, I’m not surprised. Actually I’m surprised more don’t.

NFL players have no choice but to deal with pain. You often hear analysts say how healthy teams are oftentimes the best teams. But health in the case of the NFL is relative. No teams are healthy. Some may be less injured than others but there’s a reason the game looks faster in September than it does in January. The wear and tear hasn’t set in yet.

So how do the players manage pain?

Ibuprofen?

Vicodin?

Clearly there are risks with those, just ask Alonzo Mourning and Brett Favre.

Relatively speaking, could it be that marijuana is less harmful?

And if Brown is right, how is it that the players pass their random drug tests?

Might the league actually look the other way when it comes to pot?

Think of it like this…

If you invested so heavily in the talents of these players and you know they struggle through the pain of an NFL season each and every week yet you still want them on the field so that you can put the best product out there on Sundays to keep fans engaged and therefore your customers (the Toyotas of the world) happy, might you look the other way?

Taking it a step further might it be worse if players head out to bars and clubs to let off some steam, soothe some bruises and potentially be exposed to environments where problems always seem to rear their ugly heads?

Relatively speaking staying at home and burning a plant might be a safer option in more ways than one.

 

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Henry
Posted On: 9/7/12 11:35 pm
You should see baseball, according to the drug testing policy a "failed" test is someone testing positive for a drug more severe then marijuana, that is a direct quote, the team might fine you/suspend you, but it isn't required and varies with the team. If I had the stress of traveling/playing every day like that I'd smoke too, I don't have that stress and I'm burnin now.
Mark D
Posted On: 5/23/12 9:49 am
Keep on smokin' TL! :-/

Ummm, slow down burners, one big problem... pot is -illegal-. As in, it's not only against the law to smoke it, you can't even possess it. At least without a doctors prescription. Combine that with the fact that you get increasingly dumber and dumber with each puff, I think it's pretty obvious that other legal pain medications are the right choice.

John in Canton
Posted On: 5/22/12 6:15 am
Finally someone went there. Nicely said TL. And I agree with you. I think I'd rather our players sit on their couches, smoke a little weed and chill instead of hitting the bars. Trouble is always at those places for athletes just waiting to strike.
OriAl
Posted On: 5/21/12 3:46 pm
Thursday night NFL games (and any other night besides Sunday, Monday, and playoff Saturday) are as unnecessary a gimmick as interleague play in baseball. Just more dangerous due to very short week.

If pot helps the players, and they aren't driving high, puff away. I'd rather they smoke a little pot than drink, or smoke tobacco.
Luigi
Posted On: 5/21/12 6:12 am
TL,

I've been a slacker lately, sorry about that. I must admit that I've never considered your argument before but you've sold me. If Ray Lewis is at home smoking a little weed and staying out of harm's way while soothing some pain and that's what he's been doing all these years, then he should keep on keeping on.
ravcolt
Posted On: 5/20/12 12:20 pm
Quite a poignant issue, Tony. The NFL has made the problem of players dealing with their weekly pain even more pronounced by scheduling a game every Thursday during the week. Why for heaven's sake? The NFL was moving along fine before Goodell started turning it into his own private play thing, but it will not be after he is gone.



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