Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce recently told reporters that as many as 80% of pro NFL players smoke weed regularly.
Kelce recently opened up about how cannabis almost ended his football career while he was hosting Saturday Night Live this spring. In his monologue, he talked about how he got suspended from his college football team for an entire season after testing positive for THC. The excessive punishment was such a heavy burden that he actually considered quitting football entirely.
In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Kelce further elaborated on the story of his suspension. “I was down in New Orleans, listening to Lil Wayne, and I wanted to smoke what he was smoking,” he explained. But just days later, on New Year's Eve of 2009, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) summoned the whole team for a random drug test. Kelce ended up testing positive for weed, thanks to his Bourbon Street adventures, and NCAA officials suspended him for a year.
“I’m just sitting there, dead in the water,” he told Vanity Fair. “I just wanted to get out of there. I was so embarrassed, I didn’t want to look at anybody.”
Kelce eventually shook off his embarrassment and joined the Kansas City Chiefs, helping his team win the Super Bowl this year. And now that he has advanced to becoming one of the highest-paid athletes in the NFL, he has discovered that cannabis use is absolutely a staple of professional football. In fact, the tight end estimates that anywhere between 50 and 80 percent of all NFL players smoke weed.
The tight end's estimate closely matches other players' comments about the prevalence of pot in professional football. Former running back Ricky Williams, who has recently launched several cannabis lines, recently agreed that around 80% of pro ballers smoke weed. And even back in 2018, retired tight end Martellus Bennett told reporters that 89% of players get high.
Just like the NCAA, the NFL continues to test players for cannabis and other illegal drugs. But in 2020, the league agreed to stop suspending players that test positive for THC. And instead of conducting random piss tests throughout the season, the NFL now only tests players for weed once a year, right at the beginning of training camp. This tightly scheduled test allows athletes to easily avoid getting popped for pot.
“If you just stop in the middle of July, you’re fine,” Kelce explained to Vanity Fair. “A lot of guys stop a week before and they still pass because everybody’s working out in the heat and sweating their tail off. Nobody’s really getting hit for it anymore.”
The NFL may have chilled out on its cannabis policies, but it is still the only professional athletic league that still tests players for weed. Major League Baseball (MLB) stopped testing players for weed in 2019, and the National Basketball Association (NBA) followed suit this year. The NCAA still suspends players who test positive for THC, but recent reports suggest that the college league may soon remove cannabis from its list of banned drugs.