Former New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski’s new role as a spokesman for Abacus Health’s CBDMedic brand could be a complicating factor if he eventually decides to come out of retirement and return to the NFL.
Like most U.S. sports leagues, the NFL has a longstanding policy that bans teams and players from using cannabis products or pursuing marijuana-related business deals. CBD products are explicitly banned under this policy.
If Gronkowski was still an active NFL player, he would have been barred from signing an endorsement deal with CBDMedic or any similar brand. Now retired, the three-time Super Bowl champion said Tuesday that CBD helped relieve pain from nagging injuries sustained during his NFL career, adding that he hopes to use his position to convince sports leagues to clear CBD as a method of treatment.
“I am pain free and that is a big deal,” Gronkowski said. “I’m here today to appeal to the sports governing bodies of the world to update their positions on CBD. Whether that’s the MLB, NBA or NFL, it’s just time.”
Gronkowski is one of a growing number of former NFL players who support CBD and other cannabis-related products as an alternative to opioid-based painkillers. Former Baltimore Ravens lineman Eugene Monroe emerged has emerged as a prominent advocate for CBD, while former Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis founded his own CBD brand, Defy.
The NFL recently formed committee to explore medical marijuana’s potential as a pain management tool for players, but players who test positive for pot still face suspensions. A league spokesman told FOX Business in May that changes to the NFL’s policy on marijuana-related deals were “not being contemplated” this offseason.
Rumors of a potential NFL comeback emerged almost immediately after Gronkowski announced his retirement last February. Gronkowski said that while he could return to the league “down the road,” he has no plans to come back in the near future.
"Physically, I could play right now, but mentally, it's not there," he said.