Travis Kelce is one of the most accomplished players in the NFL. But before his rise to stardom with the Chiefs, the tight end lost an entire college season due to a drug-related suspension. Now, years later, Kelce suggests at least half -- and perhaps even a clear majority -- of all NFL players are using the same substance that got him in trouble.
He is speaking, of course, about cannabis. Amid the spreading legalization of recreational marijuana across America, Kelce told Vanity Fair this week that he was "so embarrassed" when a failed drug test got him suspended at Cincinnati. Nowadays, however, he's confident many peers are taking advantage of the NFL's looser rules regarding marijuana use.
"If you just stop (using) in the middle of July, you're fine," he said. "A lot of guys stop a week before and they still pass (drug tests) because everybody's working out in the heat and sweating their tail off. Nobody's really getting hit for it anymore."
Under current NFL rules, which were revised in 2021 but previously imposed suspensions for repeat violations, players are required to undergo just a single annual marijuana test at the start of training camp. As a result, Kelce told Vanity Fair, anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of the league's more than 1,600 players currently use cannabis, he estimated.
Kelce isn't the first notable name to suggest as much. Former tight end Martellus Bennett once proposed that "89 percent" of NFL players use marijuana, and former running back Ricky Williams, whose career included multiple drug-related suspensions, suggested "at least 80 percent" of players did the same. A number of notable retired players, including Williams, Marshawn Lynch, Tiki Barber and Calvin Johnson, have also invested in medical or recreational cannabis companies in recent years.