Ex-NFL star Ricky Williams says the league is moving in the right direction by loosening its stance on cannabis in recent years ... but tells TMZ Sports he's hoping Roger Goodell's organization goes one step further by allowing teams to treat players with marijuana after games.
Ricky -- who was suspended five times and missed a chunk of his career for violating the league's substance abuse policy -- believes society is going through a big transformation when it comes to accepting the benefits of cannabis and psychedelics ... and he's hoping the NFL follows suit.
FYI -- the NFL changed its marijuana policy in 2021 ... electing to only test players once a year and handing down less punishment if someone is popped for the drug.
Ricky is thrilled with the league's changed stance on cannabis but feels it would have great benefits for players if they were encouraged to use marijuana instead of pills during recovery.
"I think the next step, though, is at the end of a game, if we're on the plane ride home, the trainer is walking down the aisle and has two capsule cases -- one of Ambien, and the other one of Vicodin," Williams said. "And he's walking down the aisle and saying, 'Do you need any of this, do you need any of this?'"
"And the truth is, for football players, we do need something because it hurts, and you're all revved up and it's hard to calm down go to sleep. And I'd love to see cannabis as being one of those things that the trainer is walking down the aisle and offering to those players."
Ricky -- who legally changed his name to Errick Miron recently -- has been an advocate for the cause for decades ... and is outspoken on the positive effects cannabis had on his mental health throughout his career.
Now, Ricky's own lifestyle brand, "Highsman," is going strong ... and he said the whole experience has been nothing but positive.
"We have an authentic message, and people are growing some really amazing flower that can really help people feel better," Ricky added. "If we can be a person that can make that connection on the cannabis side, that feels great to us."