Most Saints fans can remember Kyle Turley and his days in New Orleans. However, his most memorable event was not because of how well he played the game as an offensive tackle, it was how he protected Aaron Brooks in front of a nationally televised audience. It was Sunday, November 4, 2001. The Saints were playing the Jets on ESPN inside of the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, LA. New Orleans was attempting to return to the playoffs after a surprising 10-6 season in 2000 under head coach Jim Haslett. They were 3-2 and losing to the New York Jets 16-9 with 1:06 left to play in the contest. On that night and that play, Kyle Turley’s professional football career was about to change.
Infamous Helmet Toss
Aaron Brooks was running for a first down inside of the red zone, then a Jet’s defender tackled him short of the first down at the 4 yard-line. Jets FS Damien Robinson joined the tackling, grabbed Brooks’ facemask, and twisted him backwards. Kyle Turley ran to Brooks’ defense. Somehow in the scrum, Turley angrily grabbed an opponent and seconds later he emerged with a Jets helmet. Turley attempted to toss the helmet towards the Superdome’s Plaza section, but only went 10 yards. The referees penalized the Saints 15 yards and ejected Turley from the game. New Orleans lost the game and finished the season at 7-9. That game was a turning point for the Saints and Turley.
A Life Out of Control
Kyle Turley gained a negative reputation in the NFL for his rage, but not for his playing ability on the field. Mike Martz, St. Louis Rams head coach, allegedly accused Turley of a threatening him after a meeting. This was the catalyst to the descent of Kyle Turley’s NFL career. Again, it was not his ability to play, but it was the perception GMs and front-office personnel had of Turley. The Chiefs gave him an opportunity for redemption that lasted 2 seasons. All the while this was occurring in his professional life, Kyle’s personal life was spiraling out of control as well.
Kyle Turley admitted that his marijuana while playing in the NFL was necessary for him to cope with the game, vertigo, seizures, pain from injuries, and his anger. Turley also credits cannabis for saving his life and marriage. Today, Kyle Turley is a business owner in California.
“Without a doubt, cannabis saved my life,” he told Benzinga. “I wouldn’t be where I am today; I would not have my family, my kids, my house, everything I have right now, if not for cannabis.”
A New Direction
On March 13th, Turley opened his cannabis dispensary in Moreno Valley, California. Turley is a friend of Brandon Rexroad who is the Founder and CEO of Shango. Turley’s store will fall under the Shango brand ecosystem. The Moreno Valley Chamber of Commerce promoted the business’ opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Today, Turley is passionate about cannabis and CBD. He believes both have had positive results on his family’s lives.
Turley said cannabis also has cured his wife, Stacey, of skin cancer. And he said the daily use of CBD — an extract of cannabis without THC, the psychoactive compound that creates the “high” — have boosted the immune systems of his two children, ages 9 and 11. Source: USA TODAY
The NFL and NFLPA ratified a new CBA last week. One of the important elements of the collective bargaining agreement was the new drug policy for marijuana testing. Under new legislation, players will not be suspended for positive marijuana tests. Positive testing for THC, Tetrahydrocannabinol, was increased from 35 nanograms to 150 nanograms. The NFL will not punish players for a positive test within a two-week period of training camp. Recommendations by a board of medical professionals will be made for players in need of treatment instead of facing discipline.
“It was horrific,” Turley says. “I don’t know what it’s like to come off of heroin or anything like that. But I got the sweats. I got the shakes. Vertigo. Depression like crazy. Suicidal tendencies. Homicidal tendencies. Everything that was under the surface over those years was raging. Pharmaceuticals had just caged the symptoms.”
Why Turley Matters Today
Why is this important for Turley’s story? Turley has a desire to help more professional athletes suffering from the pains and psychological issues associated with his/her sport. He has become an advocate for NFL players. The issue of cannabis hit close to home for the Saints with DT David Onyemata. Last year, Onyemata was issued a citation for possessing nearly three ounces of marijuana, cannabis oil, and edibles and hemp powder in a search of his apartment in Jefferson Parish. Onyemata had the products mailed to his Elmwood apartment address. He was suspended for one-game by the NFL for violating the leagues substance-abuse policy. Based on the new CBA, Onyemata would not have been suspended. Former Saints RB Ricky Williams has been advocating marijuana usage for many years. You must wonder how many other past NFL players may have had their careers shortened by testing positive for THC.
Kyle Turley’s NFL career spanned for 109 games in 8 seasons for the New Orleans Saints, St. Louis Rams, and Kansas City Chiefs. He was voted to the 2000 First-team AP All-Pro squad at Tackle while playing for New Orleans. It will be interesting to revisit in the future on Turley’s new venture into the world of cannabis.
You can read more on the New Orleans Saints, current and former players on Saints News Network. Follow Kyle T. Mosley at @ktmoze on Twitter. Follow Saints News Network on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @SaintsNews.