Former Broncos tight end Nate Jackson used marijuana—a lot—during his NFL career. He self-medicated with weed and actually says that he believes it helped him walk away from the game of football with his head on straight.

"It kept my brain clean," he said on Wednesday, during something called the Cannabis Business Executives Breakfast. "I feel like I exited the game with my mind intact. And I credit that to marijuana in a lot of ways and not getting hooked on these pain pills that are recklessly distributed in the league when a guy gets an injury."

So while Roger Goodell and the NFL are 100 percent against allowing players to use pot during their playing days, Jackson wants them to reconsider. He says that guys are using it anyway, so he thinks the league should figure out a way to take it off their list of banned substances.

"[The NFL] is aware that probably over half of their players smoke weed," he said. "They've been doing it since they were teenagers. The fact that they've been doing it that whole time and still made it to the NFL and are able to satisfy their demands of very, very strict employers on a daily basis means that their marijuana use is in check. Marijuana is not a problem in their lives."

It's unlikely that the NFL will listen to Jackson. This isn't the first time he's talked about the benefits of smoking weed. But for what it's worth, we made some of the same points he did here. We get why the NFL—a billion-dollar industry in and of itself—doesn't necessarily want to align itself with a drug that's illegal in most U.S. states. But it seems crazy that the NFL won't at least listen to former players like Jackson to get their perspective on how marijuana helped them deal with pain during their careers.

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[via Eye on Football]