Medical Marijuana Advocate Eugene Monroe retires from NFL

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on July 23, 2016.

Offensive tackle Eugene Monroe, first active player to advocate the use of medical marijuana, announced his retirement from the NFL (National Football League) on Thursday.

Twenty-nine year old Monroe made his decision out of concern for his own health, as he fears that the game may have already taken a toll on his body, and brain in specific.

"After 18 years, I am retiring from the game I love," Monroe said in a statement. "This was not an easy decision to make, but I know it's the right one for me, my health and my family. Thank you to my fans for your continued support, and to my friends and family for always standing by me. I'm excited about what's to come." Monroe’s written announcement published in the Players’ Tribune.

Monroe has had shoulder injuries, ankle sprains, concussions and all the usual wear and tear that comes from hitting defenders dozens of times a game. To deal with such injuries, he had earlier appealed the NFL to stop testing players for marijuana so he and other players could take the medical marijuana to treat their chronic pain.

Retired football players like Kyle Turley and Ricky Williams have promoted the benefits of marijuana and called for the league to acknowledge those benefits. However, Monroe’s vocal advocacy for marijuana eventually pressured the Baltimore Ravens to release the starting lineman this off-season.

Although Monroe is leaving the game early, he intends to continue his support for medical marijuana. “Even though my football career is over, I plan to continue to be a vocal advocate for medical marijuana research, particularly as it relates to CTE,” Monroe wrote. “More steps need to be taken to curb the overuse of opioids in NFL locker rooms, and I won’t rest until something is done.”

Born on April 18, 1987, Monroe played seven seasons in the NFL. Drafted in the first round in 2009 by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Monroe played regularly for most of his career. After he was traded to the Ravens for two draft picks in 2013, his injuries mounted. Last season, he missed four games because of a severe concussion.

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