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Eugene Monroe, John Urschel speak out on The Players' Tribune

The Ravens' Eugene Monroe leaves the locker room at the Under Armour Performance Center after the team finished a disappointing 5-11 season in January
The Ravens' Eugene Monroe leaves the locker room at the Under Armour Performance Center after the team finished a disappointing 5-11 season in January (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

Eugene Monroe has found yet another avenue to plead his case for medicinal marijuana.

The Ravens' left tackle posted a first-person account published on The Players' Tribune on Monday, again imploring the NFL to stop punishing players for marijuana use. He also calls for the league to devote funding to research medical marijuana and how it impacts concussion incidence.

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"It's time for the league to change its practices to better protect players and to set an example for our younger athletes," Monroe writes. "I'm not asking the NFL to prescribe players cannabis. I'm calling on the league to remove its testing protocols for cannabis. It just makes sense."

While the Ravens began voluntary offseason training activities Tuesday, Monroe was in Las Vegas to speak on a panel called "Breaking Barriers to Medical Marijuana Research," according to a tweet he sent Monday afternoon.

Monroe opens his Players' Tribune piece with an account of the NFL's pregame "T Train," in which players, one by one, get injections of Toradol to ease pain during the game. He urges the league to stop prescribing opioids, fearing that players too often become addicted to them.

Monroe's allegation isn't a new one. Two years ago, a group of former players sued the league for illegally prescribing painkillers that temporarily numbed pain but caused bigger problems in the long term.

And Monroe has used this offseason as a personal media tour, providing his opinions in stories in The New York Times, National Public Radio and other news sites.

"The answer can no longer be pills….and more pills," Monroe writes for the Players' Tribune.

Monroe wasn't the only Raven featured on The Players' Tribune this week. Offensive lineman John Urschel, who wrote under the title "Advanced Stats Columnist," told his story of working out with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology football team this offseason while studying for a Ph.D. in mathematics.

Urschel admits MIT's linemen beat him in sprints. The team was successful since it began recruiting in 2013. And at a top-tier academic school, football was far less emphasized than it was at Penn State, where Urschel played in college.

"At MIT, most practices are in the morning before classes begin, or during the school-wide activities window from 5 to 7 p.m.," Urschel writes. "MIT actually sets aside time for students to stop studying. If a player has to miss practice, or if he shows up late because he was busy with his schoolwork, there is no punishment and there are no questions."

Urschel also describes his new outlook on football after training in a new environment.

"These guys love football," he writes. "They are playing the game because they want to. No one is making them come to practice, no one is checking up on them.

"Training with the team at MIT, I started thinking about what had drawn me to football as a kid. It felt like a game again. I had thought I might have something to teach the team. I never imagined they'd have so much to teach me."

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