NFL football displayed on turf.

Parker Anderson

Ricky Williams Expects Cannabis Profits to Exceed NFL Earnings Lost to Failed Drug Tests

Former NFL running back Ricky Williams says he’s going to make more money through cannabis business investments than the total NFL profits he was denied after failing several drug tests more than a decade ago.

In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Williams said that in failing four drug tests between 2002 and 2006 for cannabis use, he estimates that he lost somewhere between $5 and $10 million in player salary and endorsements.

After his retirement from the NFL, Williams spent some time soul searching and, eventually, confronted the reality of cannabis normalization. “The way the industry is growing, it feels newer, and it feels fresh,” Williams said.

After some years spent battling the ‘stoner’ stereotype he had been branded with in his departure from the NFL, Williams learned that pushing back only perpetuated the label: so he looked for ways to embrace his cannabis identity.

Today, Williams is co-founder of the San Francisco-based Power Plant Fitness and Wellness gym, a place where cannabis-inclined athletes will be allowed to consume marijuana while working out. Williams will be managing the gym, which has already announced its grand opening for this November. Power Plant will also offer “athletic edibles,” designed to encourage both “pre-workout focus and post-workout recovery.”

Williams expects the venture will eventually dwarf the NFL earnings he forfeited over failed drug tests. “That money can make what I lost seem tiny, like pennies,” he said.

Also in the interview, Williams said that he believes 60-70% of NFL players smoke cannabis, and that some of the coaches likely do, as well.

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