01/16/2014 08:26 am ET Updated Mar 18, 2014

Marijuana Might Be in NFL Players' Future


The NFL has pretty strict rules on drug use for players. First, those substances considered illegal by the league, including steroids, are 100 percent off limits. Period.

Although the NFL does have rehab programs, fines, suspensions and worse await some violators.

Testing includes marijuana. Pre-employement, pre-season, and in some cases random drug testing can be conducted by the NFL to keep its gridiron brawlers in check. But even alcohol can be prohibited if a player has shown that he can't handle his booze.

So why was NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently talking about the possibility of letting players use cannabis?

Plain and simple, the reason is pain. It's a serious concern in a bone-crushing game.

Goodell recognizes the increasing legitimacy of cannabis as pain medication, and he doesn't seem to be willing to stand in the way of getting it to players who might need it in the future.

Here's what he told ESPN recently:

I don't know what's going to develop as far as the next opportunity for medicine to evolve and to help either deal with pain or help deal with injuries, but we will continue to support the evolution of medicine.

If only the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration were so enlightened. We look forward to the day when taking a hit has new meaning for the guys on the line of scrimmage.

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