Former NFL wide receiver Percy Harvin acknowledged he combated anxiety during his playing days by self-medicating with marijuana, saying that he played every game of his career while high.
“There’s not a game – there’s not a game I played that I wasn’t high,” Harvin told Bleacher Report in a video published Wednesday. “And that’s what I kind of want the world to see today, is it’s not a stigma and people doing it and getting into a whole bunch of trouble. It’s just people that’s just living regular life that just got deficiencies or maybe just want to enjoy themselves. It’s a natural way to do so.”
Harvin, however, was never suspended by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, which includes marijuana on its banned substances list.
Harvin, now 31, played in the NFL eight seasons with stints with the Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills. He said he was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and that he suffered from bouts throughout his playing days.
“Those was probably the worst years of my life, just cause it came with so much,” Harvin said of being traded to the Seahawks in 2013. “My anxiety is at its worst when I go into unfamiliar situations.”
Harvin was known for being a speedy threat in the passing game as well as a standout return specialist.
In his career, he caught 353 passes for 4,026 yards with 22 touchdowns, while adding five rushing scores and five return touchdowns.Get the 4th and Monday newsletter in your inbox.
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“When I was diagnosed, I still didn’t acknowledge it,” Harvin said of his anxiety. “But when I started noticing it was when I started speaking or going into different environments, particularly the press conference with the Seahawks. My shirt was sweating, they had to bring me water a couple of times during my press conference.”
Harvin recalled going to the Mayo Clinic to try to treat his anxiety, and at one point having seven different prescriptions written for him.
“The only thing that really seemed to work is when I would smoke marijuana,” Harvin said.
Harvin said the height of his anxiety centered around an altercation he had with former Seahawk and current Giants receiver Golden Tate in the lead-up to Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos.
“Golden did an interview and I had just sat out the previous game with a concussion,” Harvin said. “So the question is, ‘How do you feel getting Percy Harvin back and getting some of y’all power back getting ready to play this tough Denver Broncos team?’ And the response was: ‘We made it here without him, so whether he play or don’t play, we going to be good.’ ”
Harvin said he then confronted Tate and struck him inside the team’s temporary facility. Reports of the altercation leaked out in the days before the game.
“That’s when we went into the meeting room and I asked him about it like, ‘Yo, bro, what’s going on? You ain’t even happy for me? This had been going on all season,’ ” Harvin said. “I was so already wrapped up it didn’t even probably matter what his answer was. Anything he would’ve said I still was going to – I was already at 10.”
Harvin said “it was true” that he struck Tate “into the trash can.”
Harvin said that after the incident, the Seahawks had their team photo taken and that then-running back Marshawn Lynch, who is also now retired from the NFL, acted as the peacemaker between Harvin and Tate on the day before the game took place.
During the interview, Harvin at one point stopped to look at the camera, specifically addressing Tate and former Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin, to take responsibility and say “those situations were on your boy, 100%.”
Harvin returned a kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown in the Super Bowl and the Seahawks dominated in a 43-8 win.
This article was originally published on usa today