Nov 17, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Ryan Clark (25) reacts after recovering a fumble against the Detroit Lions during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 37-27. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers' Ryan Clark Claims Teammates Use Marijuana


Pittsburgh Steelers free agent safety Ryan Clark has always been one to let his mouth get him into trouble.

If he had any plans of returning to the Steelers, which was doubtful to begin with, his latest comments likely didn’t do him any favors.

Dec 29, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark (25) against the Cleveland Browns in the second half at Heinz Field. The Steelers won the game, 20-7. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The 12-year veteran discussed the topic of marijuana use and the league’s testing system Thursday morning on ESPN’s “First Take.” Clark said NFL players, including some of his Steelers’ teammates, turn to smoking marijuana for a variety of reasons, especially as a means to relieve pain and manage stress.

“I know guys on my team who smoke,” Clark said. “And it’s not a situation where you think, ‘Oh, these are guys trying to be cool.’ These are guys who want to do it recreationally.

“A lot of it is stress relief. A lot of it is pain and medication. Guys feel like, ‘If I can do this, it keeps me away from maybe Vicodin, it keeps me away from pain prescription drugs and things that guys get addicted to.’ Guys look at this as a more natural way to heal themselves, to stress relieve and also to medicate themselves for pain. Guys are still going to do it.”

Marijuana use became a hot topic at the Super Bowl, as both teams hail from states that legalized marijuana.

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll created headlines by saying he agreed with the notion the league should investigate medicinal marijuana to see if it can help players. Medicinal marijuana is legal in 20 states, plus the District of Columbia.

Clark also commented on the NFL fighting a losing battle in an attempt to ban the substance, while also saying the league’s testing system isn’t all that effective.

“It’s 100 percent true. They’re fighting a losing battle. The testing isn’t stringent,” Clark said. “There is one random test during OTAs and minicamps during the offseason, and everybody will be tested early in training camp. After that, there are no more tests. So guys understand the ways to get around failing a drug test.”

Clark is probably right on the money with all of his assessments. But the Steelers ownership, front office and some of his former teammates certainly can’t be happy about his throwing them under the bus.

Given his age and less-than-spectacular 2013 season, Clark was all but assured of not getting a contact offer from the Steelers for 2014.

However if there was a shred of chance of that happening, that door is probably closed now.


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