Chris Long knew how to beat the NFL's faulty system for testing players for recreational drugs. Now that he's retired, Long hopes the league will turn a blind eye to marijuana use.
"I certainly enjoyed my fair share on a regular basis through my career," Long said during an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday. "If not for that, I'm not as capable of coping with the stresses of day-to-day, the NFL life."
Long, the No. 2 overall pick in 2008, enjoyed an 11-year career, with stints on the then-St. Louis Rams, New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles. He won two Super Bowls in the final three years of his career.
Long was able to evade detection because the league's test is so easy to beat. It happens once a year on a pre-arranged date, so players stop using drugs in preparation. Once the test is over, they resume their marijuana use.
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"In that month or two that you stop, you're going to reach for the sleeping pills, you're going to reach for the pain killers and you're going to reach for the bottle a little bit more," Long said. "If you're serious about players not using, you'd be testing more often. I hope they go the opposite direction and just kind of realize how arbitrary that one test is."
Because players can beat the test so easily, Long wondered why the NFL even bothers, particularly when he sees alternatives like alcohol and pain killers as far more dangerous.
"We should be headed to a place where we allow players to use what I wouldn't even call drugs. It's far less dangerous than players guzzling a fifth of alcohol and going out after a game," he said.
That's when players get in trouble, Long said. They drink, they go out and bad news follows.
"[Marijuana use] is far less harmful than alcohol. It is far less harmful than tobacco. And at various points in the league's history, they have engaged in partnerships on different levels in those respective industries."
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