The NFL Has a Serious Drug Problem

The NFL Has a Serious Drug Problem

NFL Star Suspended for Drug Use

The Baltimore Ravens haven’t been having a good season. Despite going 7-5 as the NFL enters its fourteenth week, the Ravens have struggled since day one. This past Thursday they took yet another hit. Star lineman Haloti Ngata was suspended for four games after violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

NFL drug problem

Haloti Ngata, arguably the backbone of the entire Baltimore Ravens, violated the NFL’s policy on using performance-enhancing drugs. So, did he use steroids? What about HGH? Nope. Ngata admitted to taking Adderall.

The five time Pro Bowler’s suspension comes on the heels of the infamous Ray Rice debacle. Though the Raven’s recovered from losing Rice, they may not recover from Ngata missing four key games.

So, what’s the big deal? Another multimillion-dollar, superstar athlete took some drugs and was caught. Sounds like a normal occurrence.

Well, that’s exactly the problem. The NFL is steeped in drug culture. It has become normal for players to be caught using drugs, performance enhancing and otherwise.

Let’s take a look at the NFL’s history of drug scandals.

Why do so many NFL players abuse prescription painkillers?

Some of the Largest Drug Scandals in NFL History

The following five examples are just that, examples. A detailed exploration of the NFL’s long history of drug abuse would take days, maybe even weeks.

Lawrence Taylor

Lawrence taylor

The famous Giant’s linebacker is considered one of the greatest defensive players the NFL has ever seen. He’s also considered one of the most reckless.

Taylor admitted to using cocaine as early as his second season in pro football. Over a twelve-year career, he was suspended multiple times for failing drug tests and admitted to passing many more tests thanks to his teammates’ urine.

Taylor was also arrested numerous times, during and after his NFL career.

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Ricky Williams

ricky williams

Ricky Williams was one of the most successful and dynamic running backs of the early 2000’s. He boasted well over 1,000 yards per season at the peak of his performance.

Williams also boasted an insatiable love for marijuana. He tested positive for the drug twice, was rumored to have failed a third test, and faced suspension. Williams then retired for a year, returned to the NFL, and failed another drug test for marijuana. He continued to play pro football until 2012, despite more rumors of failed drug tests and substance abuse.

Brett Favre

brett favre

Whether you loved him or hated him, you had to admire Brett Favre. One of the greatest quarterbacks to ever pick up a pigskin, Favre played in the NFL for twenty years. He’s also the only quarterback ever to pass for over 70,000 yards, have over 6,000 completions, and over 10,000 pass attempts. That’s impressive.

Equally impressive was Farve’s love for prescription painkillers. During the 90’s, Favre developed an addiction to Vicodin and alcohol that, at its peak, caused him to suffer a seizure.


Jim Irsay

jim irsay

The owner of the Indianapolis Colts is no stranger to making bold decisions about his team. In 2012, he cut superstar quarterback Peyton Manning’s contract. Irsay is also no stranger to accusations of drug use.

Irsay’s struggled with an addiction to prescription painkillers since the mid 90’s. He’s been to treatment twice, been arrested, been suspended, and faced monster fines.

Is Jim Irsay an addict?

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle seahawks

The 2013 Super Bowl champions are undoubtedly a team to be reckoned with. The Seahawks are widely considered to be one of the best defensive teams in the league. From 2011 on, they’ve also been one of the most controversial.

Since 2011, six Seahawks players have tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. They are: defensive end Bruce Irvin, cornerback Richard Sherman, cornerback Brandon Browner, safety Winston Guy, offensive lineman Allen Barbre, and offensive lineman John Moffitt.

The Seahawks definitely take the cake for having the most players involved in a substance abuse scandal.

Many NFL players take Adderall…but why?

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