Former NFL quarterback Jake Plummer, who played in the league for a decade with the Arizona Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Denver Broncos, opened up this week about the NFL’s drug problem.
Plummer, who has been retired from the league for a decade now, on Tuesday called out Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on BSN Denver over Jones’ views on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and the league’s marijuana policy.
“Like Jerry Jones, who says it’s ‘absurd’ that there would be a link between brain trauma, football and CTE,” Plummer said. “Shame on him for saying that, that billionaire asshole. It’s the worst thing in the world for a guy like that to say. That’s where we’re sitting; grown-ass men are asked to go out there for millions of dollars — which, yeah, it’s a lot of money— bang themselves around, and completely fuck their lives over for their forties and fifties. So yeah, poor football players is what I say. If you’re a grown-ass man, you should be allowed to make grown-ass decisions.”
You may recall Jones’ comments this offseason on the link between CTE and football. Jones responded in a way only the multi-billionaire could. Jones, quoted in the Washington Post, said he wanted studies to back up the link between CTE and football — like the ones reported by Dr. Bennet Omaulu, who was portrayed by Will Smith in the film “Concussion.” Omalu found CTE in the brains of five players in the early 2000s. Evidence of CTE was also found in the brains of 12 other former players between 2008 and 2010.
As Plummer noted, each person makes their own decision to play football. “They should be able to say, ‘I’m going to have some CBD and puff on this fatty, relax after a football game and take the pain away,'” he said. “Not get tested for it like Josh Gordon, who now can’t play the game that he’s been playing since he was a kid because he smokes marijuana. It didn’t derail him or cause him to underachieve from what I witnessed.
“He dominated the league for two straight years, and now he’s out of the league because he chose an alternative form of medicine.”
CBD — cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis — is something Plummer uses every day. Jake The Snake mentioned that one of his former teammates, Nate Jackson, introduced him to CBD as an alternative to the highly addictive painkillers many NFL doctors prescribe to players.
As Plummer mentioned to BSN Denver, players in the league don't really have a choice when a team doctor prescribes painkillers. The NFL is a revolving door for players; any scrub or star can get cut by any team at any time.
“It’s really hard to explain to the outside, because it’s like having a job and there’s constantly people coming to take your job,” Plummer explains. “If you’re in pain, and you can’t perform or if you’re not healthy, then someone is going to take your job.”
“I know a lot of guys that were using [Percocet] and [Vicodin] if that’s what they had to do to get through an NFL season,” Plummer added. “At that point, I wasn’t going to be the guy to say, ‘Hey man, this stuff is bad for you.’ I knew it was; I knew they knew it was but your job is being threatened and you’re going to do whatever it takes. There was, still is and always has been a pretty high use of whatever drug of choice it is to keep you on the field.”
Plummer’s comments continue the ongoing conversation about medical cannabis and the NFL. Former Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Eugene Monroe and current Tennessee Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan recently pushed to remove league sanctions against cannabis use. Monroe, who was released from the Ravens on June 15, shortly after his public comments, has been the most outspoken active player in support of medical cannabis in the NFL.
Header photo by Keith Allison