Chad Johnson says he took Viagra before NFL games to get around PED rules

Chad Johnson made an interesting reveal on Twitter Tuesday night.

The former Bengals Pro Bowl receiver said he would take Viagra before games as a way to boost his performance. 

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When someone asked whether he was simply joking, Johnson responded, “No it wasn’t a joke, I really took viagra before games, the increase in blood flow made me unbelievable [sic] explosive in & out of my routes.” 

There’s some proof (the safe for work kind) to back up Johnson’s claim. There’s a moment when he’s mic’d up and talking to a coach, saying he took the pill.

The former NFL receiver has also discussed this a number of times on Twitter. He made the joke that he took Viagra so he would be “hard to cover.” 

Johnson also admitted on Twitter that he did this as a way to get around drug testing.

Former receiver Brandon Marshall said he’d heard of other players taking Viagra as well. But he also explained why he’s hesitant to use it.

“But some guys, they’ll do whatever they can to get an edge,” Marshall said in 2012. “I’ve heard of some crazy stories. I’ve heard (of) guys using like Viagra, seriously. Because the blood is supposedly thin, some crazy stuff. So, you know, it’s kind of scary with some of these chemicals that are in some of these things, so you have to be careful.”

But now the real question is: Does this actually work?

Johnson isn’t alone in his thinking. Some men who train started to take Viagra, or pills similar to it, as a preworkout and claim it made a difference. Men’s Health Magazine pointed out that there are a few studies to support it.

From Men’s Health Magazine:

There’s a small amount of research to support these claims. A few studies have suggested that taking sildenafil can benefit athletes competing at high altitudes, such as cyclists or long-distance runners, by delivering more oxygen to their muscles. Additionally, a 2013 study in the journal of Clinical and Translational Science suggested that sildenafil could increase muscle protein synthesis and reduce muscle fatigue, concluding that it may “represent a potential pharmacologic strategy to improve skeletal muscle function.”

The active ingredient in Viagra, Sildenafil, is intended to increase blood flow by opening up the blood vessels. This allows blood to flow freely to the penis and other surrounding muscles.

After Marshall’s comments, the NFL said Viagra was not on the banned substance list. Around the same time, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was looking into whether Viagra was really beneficial. In its findings, WADA discovered that Sildenafil isn’t going to make a huge impact for athletes.

“Sildenafil is unlikely to exert beneficial effects in oxygen delivery or exercise performance at altitudes < 4000 m for the vast majority of the endurance trained men or women,” the report reads.

Still, it’s interesting to know that NFL athletes were willing to take on the potential side effects of taking Viagra simply to gain a potential edge.

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