NFL Great Calvin Johnson Reveals He Smoked Pot After Every Game to Heal

The former Detroit Lion didn't like how opioids made him feel, so he self-medicated with marijuana

Calvin Johnson Reveals He Smoked Pot After Every Game to Heal
Calvin Johnson runs with the ball during an NFL game in 2015. (Dave Reginek/Getty)
By Evan Bleier / September 20, 2019 11:58 am

In a new Sports Illustrated piece, one of the top receivers in recent history revealed that he used to treat his aches and pains from playing NFL football with pot instead of pills.

Calvin Johnson, who retired from the NFL after playing nine seasons, told writer Michael Rosenberg that he would heal himself after every game by smoking marijuana.

“When I got to the league, [there] was opioid abuse,” Johnson, who is now in the medical marijuana business, said. “You really could go in the training room and get what you wanted. I can get Vicodin, I can get Oxy[contin]. It was too available. I used Percocet and stuff like that. And I did not like the way that made me feel. I had my preferred choice of medicine. Cannabis.”

Johnson’s revelation comes at an interesting time as the NFL’s marijuana policy could be an issue in upcoming CBA negotiations with the NFLPA.

In exchange for the players agreeing to an 18-game regular season or an expanded playoff field, many NFL owners might be willing to “make concessions to the union on the commissioner’s disciplinary authority and the sport’s marijuana policy,” according to The Washington Post.

Though he didn’t play nearly as long as many of Hall of Fame players, Johnson has a decent shot at getting a bust in Canton thanks to the 2012 season, in which he had 122 catches for an NFL record 1,964 yards.

Even if he doesn’t get in, despite ranking first among retired players with 86.1 yards per game, Johnson won’t regret hanging up his cleats at age 30.

“I won’t think about it at all,” he told SI. “I was a beast during that time; I was hands down the best receiver in the game. I’m not gonna argue with you, but I know I was.”

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