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Ex-Bucs RB Mike James leading drive for medicinal marijuana in NFL

Former Tampa Bay player has asked NFL to remove marijuana from banned substances list as alternative to opioids.
Former Bucs running back Mike James, shown in 2016, has appealed to the NFL to allow players to use medicinal marijuana to help recover from injury and surgery. (TIMES FILES | 2016)
Published Apr. 30, 2018

Former Bucs running back Mike James is leading the charge to have the NFL allow medicinal marijuana as an alternative to addictive opioids for players recovering from injury and surgeries.

James, 27, who has not played in the NFL since he was cut by the Bucs in November 2016, was interviewed by CNN on Sunday night, sharing a story of his difficult addiction to painkillers following a broken ankle in 2013.

"I never had something where I could be coherent and still have pain relief," said James, who turned to medical marijuana for his pain, knowing it is a banned substance under NFL policy.

RELATED: Mike James making another run from NFL fringe

James filed for a "therapeutic use exemption" to the NFL policy, but CNN reported that he received a letter from the NFL on Thursday notifying him his application had been denied.

"My career is at great risk," said James, who spent last season on injured reserve with the Lions due to concussions, and is now a free agent.