Many an all-star player has fallen afoul of the NFL substance abuse policy. Here are a few of the most prominent in's and out's:
Randy Gregory: Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys DE Randy Gregory has been fully reinstated after an indefinite suspension for repeatedly violating the NFL substance abuse policy. The 2nd Round draft pick, who skipped senior year at Nebraska in order to kick-off his professional football career, has tested hot for pot ever since the NFL 2015 Scouting Combine. Which is why many believe he was skipped over in the 1st Round. Here's hoping he stays off the weed for 2018.
Josh Gordon: Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will be returning to the team this season after numerous suspensions for violating the NFL substance abuse policy. The 2nd Round 2012 Supplemental Draft pick missed the first two games of the 2013 season, yet still managed to make it to the Pro Bowl. Then he was suspended for one year (reduced to 10 games) in 2014 after being arrested for driving while impaired. The record-setting wide-receiver also missed the entire 2015 season over suspension. Gordon voluntarily sat out all of the 2016 season after being suspended for the first four games.
"As I humbly return to being a member of this team with an opportunity to get back to playing this game I love, I realize in order for me to reach my full potential my primary focus must remain on my sobriety and mental well-being," Gordon wrote on Twitter. "Let's get to work!"
Deiondre Hall: Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears backup safety Deiondre’ Hall won’t be fielding during the season opener against the Green Bay Packers. Why? He violated the NFL substance abuse policy.
"Deiondre' Hall will be eligible to return to the Bears' active roster on Monday, September 10th.
It’s not the first off-the-field trouble for the 4th Round 2016 draft pick during his brief Bears career. Earlier this year he pleaded guilty to charges of disorderly conduct and public intoxication stemming from a 2017 bar fight in Iowa. He was consequently sentenced to six months of probation on a deferred judgment.
Hall is fighting Deon Bush and DeAndre Houston-Carson for a starting roster slot.
Carlos Henderson: Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos WR Carlos Henderson will also be missing the first regular-season game for violating the NFL substance abuse policy. Henderson’s suspension likely stems from a January arrest for marijuana possession in Louisiana. The 3rd Round 2017 pick did not play last year because of a thumb injury. And his chances of making this year’s roster decreased when the Broncos drafted Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton.
Rashard Robinson: New York Jets
New York Jets announced cornerback Rashard Robinson has been suspended for the first four games of the 2018 season after violating the NFL substance abuse policy. Robinson, who New York acquired from the San Francisco 49ers last October, was arrested in December after police in New Jersey allegedly found marijuana-laced candy—"THC-infused Peanut Budda Buddah Candy"—in his possession during a traffic stop.
David Irving: Dallas Cowboys
Cowboys DE David Irving says he’s undergoing additional addiction treatment in California while under a four-game suspension for violating the NFL substance abuse policy. But he insists he’ll be back with the team on Oct. 1.
Irving, who also sat out the first four games of the 2017 season due to an NFL substance abuse violation, says he’s been “medicated” every time he’s hit the field. The DE also hit social media with some harsh criticisms over the NFL’s stance on cannabis use.
“These guys prescribe me Xanax bars, Ambien and painkillers. I'd much rather smoke weed than take all that lab-made sh*t. It’s natural.”
"The NFL laws on weed are bullsh*t and we all know it. I'm from Cali. I've had my medical marijuana card. It's nothing wrong with it.”
What is the NFL Substance Abuse Policy?
The NFL substance abuse policy, officially known as the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse, includes bans of everything from anabolic steroids and human growth hormones to Adderall and Ritalin. It also of course includes bans of usual suspect substances such as cocaine and heroin, as well as marijuana. However, the NFL has no prohibition against prescribed opioids. We at Recovery Boot Camp hope the league looks into that disparity and what it may or may not be doing to the players -- and to the NFL.