Pubdate: Thu, 10 Aug 2017
Source: Journal News, The (NY)
Copyright: 2017 The Gannett Company, Inc.


REDDING, Calif. - Ryan O'Callaghan, who said he developed an addiction
to painkillers that helped him deal with injuries during his NFL
career, told USA TODAY Sports he now uses marijuana to treat the pain
and that the NFL should change its policy prohibiting players from
using the drug.

"For people like me, marijuana is a godsend because you don't want to
take these pills,'' said O'Callaghan, 33. "Marijuana is not addicting.
People who say that have never smoked it. I have an addictive
personality. It's not addictive.''

Of the NFL's stance on marijuana, O'Callaghan said, "They know it's
harmless, and it's not performance enhancing. I've known guys who've
played stoned. Absolutely.

"The NFL can be stressful and there's not a lot you can do. Smoking a
joint's pretty harmless. It really is. Don't tell the Attorney General
that, but it's very harmless.''

In 2011, O'Callaghan said, he sought treatment for addiction and
stopped using painkillers after he disclosed to a therapist that he
was gay. He publicly acknowledged he is gay in a story that was
published June 20.

O'Callaghan, who played offensive tackle for the New Patriots from
2006 to 2008 and for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2009 to 2011, said he
has a medical marijuana card and sometimes also takes Ibuprofen for an
assortment of injuries. He said his left shoulder needs to be replaced
after five operations and that he also had surgery on his right
shoulder and left hand.

When he climbs into his truck, O'Callaghan lifts his left leg because
of a lingering groin injury suffered during his NFL career.

"My body hurts like hell because of football,'' he said.
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