May 21 2014, 12:45am CDT | by Poch de la Rosa
The Chicago Tribune's Dan Wiederer wrote more about the development:
"The NFL faces new litigation from former players -- including three members of the Super Bowl XX champion Bears -- after a lawsuit was filed Tuesday claiming the league illegally administered painkilling drugs and encouraged players to play while injured.
"Lawyers are seeking class-action status for the suit that features eight named plaintiffs -- including former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, defensive end Richard Dent and offensive tackle Keith Van Horne -- and more than 500 unnamed plaintiffs.
"The suit alleges the NFL and its teams prioritized profit over health while subjecting players to a 'culture of drug misuse' in which injuries were improperly diagnosed and treated and players' returns to the field were expedited by the unethical and illegal administration of narcotics and other painkilling drugs.
"The lawsuit seeks an injunction creating a testing and monitoring program that would be funded by the NFL to help prevent addiction, injuries and disabilities related to painkiller use. It also seeks unspecified financial damages.
"An NFL spokesman said Tuesday that the league's attorneys had yet to review the suit and that the league would not be offering comment at this time.
"An associate of McMahon's told The Tribune that the former quarterback would not comment on the suit, preferring to let the attorneys handle it. Attempts to reach Van Horne and Dent were unsuccessful."
CSN Chicago Bears Insider John Mullin reports the players involved developed dependencies on pain-killing drugs as a result.
"But at the core of action is frustration, a feeling among the retired vets that neither the NFL nor the NFL Players Association has the interests of the former players on any agenda.
"As one plaintiff, on condition of anonymity, told CSNChicago.com, 'Sometimes the only way you get the NFL to listen is to sue them.'
"Players have stated that they were not told of injuries as severe as broken legs or ankles, not to mention concussion issues that have swirled in other actions. Players have said that illegal drugs were distributed as part of efforts to mask pain and keep players on the field.
"Both Dent and McMahon developed tendencies on pain killers in the course of dealing with their injuries, the lawsuit states.
"The suit alleges that Van Horne, the starting right tackle for the Super Bowl XX Bears, played a season on a broken leg and wasn't told about the injuries for five years, 'during which time he was fed a constant diet of pills to deal with the pain.'
In the actual copy of the 85-page lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege the NFL is concerned about profit above everything else to the detriment of its players' health.
"In its thrist for constantly growing revenue, the League has over the past few years increasingly scheduled more Thursday night games than ever before, leaving players with less recovery time and greater chances for new injuries or worsening of existing injuries.
"More games, longer seasons, shorter recovery between games, plus bigger and stronger players, equals more frequent and debilitating injuries. That is problematic for the League, which needs players on the field on every given Sunday so the money can keep rolling."
The 54-year-old McMahon suited up for the Bears, San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers in 15 NFL seasons.
He amassed 18,148 yards, 100 touchdowns and 90 interceptions, per Pro-Football-Reference.com.
Poch de la Rosa
Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.
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