Chris Long is no longer an active member of the NFL, which gives the now-retired defensive end the freedom to speak about topics he would've been forced to avoid during his playing career.
The two-time Super Bowl winner did just that Wednesday on the "Dan Patrick Show," opening up about his belief that the NFL should ease restrictions on marijuana and revealing he took the banned drug while in the league.
"We should be headed to a place where we allow players to enjoy what I would not even call a drug - it’' far less dangerous than guzzling a fifth of alcohol and going out after a game," Long said, according to Yahoo Sports' Shalise Manza Young.
"Chances are the player won't even make it to the club (laughs) to do this sort of thing that we all kind of wag our finger at when we hear about a guy getting in a fight or getting a DUI, you're never going to read about him sitting on the couch and binge-watching 'Game of Thrones' again.
"I think from a standpoint of what's safer for people and the player, certainly people in the spotlight, it 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 with those respective industries."
Long opted not to make a guess at the league-wide usage of marijuana - which some ex-players have previously put as high as 89 percent - but admitted he regularly used it to help deal with the pressures of NFL life.
"I'm not a dry snitch, I'm not going to put a percentage on how much the league smokes, but I certainly enjoyed my fair share on a regular basis throughout my career," Long said. "So, you know, and I was never afraid to say that and I'm able to say it more explicitly now: if not for that, I'm not as capable of coping with the stressors of day-to-day NFL life. A lot of guys get a lot of pain management out of it. Toradol did more pain management for me."
On Tuesday, the NFL and NFL Players Association announced a new initiative aimed at researching players' pain management, which could potentially lead to a change in the league's attitude toward marijuana.