Former NFL Player Kyle Turley Says League-Prescribed Drugs Made Him Homicidal

By McCarton Ackerman 11/09/15

The former All-Pro credits marijuana with saving his life.

Kyle Turley
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Former All-Pro offensive lineman Kyle Turley has added his name to the list of former NFL players who are touting the benefits of marijuana for pain relief, claiming the pharmaceutical drugs he was prescribed by the league led to both suicidal and homicidal thoughts.

Turley, who retired from the sport in 2007, said during a recent appearance on ESPN'S Highly Questionable that he suffered two documented concussions and 100 undocumented ones during his career. He was prescribed a myriad of drugs by the league, including Wellbutrin and Depakote, but said the side effects of these medications proved to be nearly fatal.

“Maybe a week into taking (Wellbutrin), I wanted to jump out of a third story window of my house and my wife had to stop me one night. So I stopped taking that,” said Turley. “Then went to Depakote ... and suicidal and homicidal tendencies became a part of my daily living, in that I couldn’t be around a knife in my kitchen without having an urge to stab someone, including my wife and kids. That was highly disturbing to me.”

Turley credited marijuana with calming some of his impulsive thinking and, in one instance, saving his life. He recalled experiencing suicidal tendencies during the weekend of his Hall of Fame induction at San Diego State University and said that “if it weren’t for cannabis, I don’t think I would have made it back to my hotel room.”

He has remained outspoken on the subject since stepping away from the NFL. He spearheaded an unsuccessful class action lawsuit filed last year over the use of painkillers in the league. Turley also claimed that in 2003, the St. Louis Rams gave him painkillers to mask a diagnosed leg injury that actually turned out to be a severe back injury which led to his eventual release from the team.

"I don't know if my shaking hands are signs of early onsets of dementia and Alzheimer's or ALS, or just the natural breakdown of my body from playing in the NFL. I'm becoming so much less of a man than I was, and I'm only in my thirties,” he said in a video for Vice Sports. "If I knew ... that these doctors were going to neglect your injury situation, pump you full of drugs, put you back in games after a bad concussion, I can honestly say I would have played another sport.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.