Steelers' Clark: No denying players' pot use

'Guys are still going to do it,' safety says

Author: By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Feb 06 2014 06:55:58 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 07 2014 12:36:33 PM CST
closeup of football laces

Marijuana use in the NFL is a hot topic lately and Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark kept the discussion going Thursday, saying teammates and other players turn to the drug to help with pain and stress.

"I know guys on my team who smoke," the 12-year veteran told ESPN's First Take. "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.

"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 pointed out on Twitter that he was not a user.

"I don't smoke marijuana. I won't smoke marijuana," he said. "The NFL shouldn't push marijuana, but I'd be a fool to say that people don't use it."

Earlier this week, New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie said it's fruitless for the league to try to enforce a ban on marijuana. Clark agreed.

"It's 100 percent true. They're fighting a losing battle," Clark said. "The testing isn't stringent. There is one random test during OTAs and minicamps during the offseason, and everybody will be tested early in training camp. After that, there are no more tests. So guys understand the ways to get around failing a drug test."