By: Tom Millikan

Calvin Johnson retired from the NFL on Tuesday and many believe the core reason is because he could no longer take the physical abuse of the NFL. I’m not completely buying that yet and I’ve even stated on Karsch & Anderson that I believe Johnson will return to the NFL. But that’s a whole different story for another day.

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One thing that may make Megatron reconsider is the NFL pioneering a campaign to allow medicinal marijuana as a painkiller. NFL players have recently stated they would love to be able to use pot to relieve pain. Right now, the NFL has a strong stance against pot. And medicinal marijuana has not been approved by the federal government as a painkiller for sports injuries.

Why not? Why is it okay to pop Vicodin after Vicodin, but players can’t use marijuana medicinally? I think making it legal may entice players from retiring early, a trend that scares the sacred NFL foundation and its enormous fan base.

Yesterday, Ravens offensive tackle Eugene Monroe told CNN.com that the NFL should reconsider its stance on medical marijuana.

“The NFL will need to have legitimate information before they remove marijuana from the banned substance list and ultimately not hurt their product in the field,” Monroe told CNN.com. “But there’s opportunity in that space also, for the NFL to get involved and maybe lead efforts.”

I 100 percent agree with Monroe. We have a double standard when it comes to relieving pain. Why are addictive pharmaceutical painkillers legal, but not marijuana? Research shows marijuana is no more harmful or addictive than painkillers such as Vicodin or Oxycodone. And those two pharmaceutical drugs have been directly linked to the heroin epidemic in the United States.

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“Your job automatically gives you the symptom of chronic pain,” said Monroe, who has missed 16 games the past two seasons due to injuries, including a concussion. “You’re hitting each other as hard as possible every single day in practice. Your body is in pain a lot of time.”

Monroe is right. Every avenue should be explored. Perhaps it’s not an option because the powerful pharmaceutical companies are in the back pocket of Roger Goodell.

The NFL has always been a trend setter. Maybe it’s missing an opportunity when it comes to dealing with pain. I’m not a big pot advocate, but I see medicinal marijuana being no more harmful than any other drug our NFL gladiators use to get out of bed in the morning.

What do you think?

Participate in the poll question and comments section below and perhaps Stoney & Jamie will discuss it Friday morning.

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