Ricky Williams is looking to score a touchdown in an entirely new arena.
The Heisman Trophy winner and former All-Pro NFL running back for the Miami Dolphins has started his own cannabis brand called Real Wellness. The brand will promote healthy healing and will feature vape oils, tinctures, and salves.
“It’s a dream come true for me to merge my passion for healing and my fascination with plant medicines with my entrepreneurial spirit,” Williams told NBC San Diego. “Cannabis has played an important part in my healing journey, and I feel a responsibility to share what I have learned in the process.”
Many celebrities are entering the cannabis industry as the idea of legalization has grown in popularity. But Williams’ support goes back to a time where publicly supporting cannabis was risky.
Williams was suspended twice for testing positive for cannabis use in his NFL career and missed the entire 2004 and 2006 seasons.
While suspended, Williams claims to have learned about the true healing potential of cannabis. He started to learn about alternative healing during his suspensions and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Chinese. Williams has been advocating for the NFL to allow its players to heal with cannabis for years.
“In 2004 I retired from the NFL and failed a drug test, and the story became ‘Ricky Williams deserts team and went to smoke pot.’ That’s part of the story, but there’s more to it,” he said. “When I left I started to train as a healer, I started to study and learn about herbs, so it dawned on me cannabis is an herb and these are other herbs, so I started playing with herbs and creating formulas to help myself and family and friends.”
Real Wellness will not simply package and sell cannabis. The company’s products will include cannabis as well as other natural herbs to create effective healing medicine.
“I’m being a pioneer in this space, adding medicinal herbs to treat specific medical issues that people are struggling with,” Williams said. “We’re taking medical herbs that have been used traditionally to treat headaches, insomnia and anxiety and combining them with cannabis to have a powerful effect.”
Despite William’s two suspensions, the running back went on to have a long career in the NFL. He retired in 2011 after and 11 seasons that started in 1999. The average NFL running back lasts 2.57 seasons in the league. Some have suggested that the time Williams missed, along with being able to heal with cannabis while out of the NFL, helped Williams extend his playing career.
Williams is not the only NFL athlete to publicly support cannabis. Former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, former Giants defensive lineman Leonard Marshall, and former Jets defensive lineman Marvin Washington have also come out in support of allowing players to recover from injury with cannabis use.