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NFL players' deal will allow workers compensation claims in other states


WASHINGTON—The National Football League’s new collective bargaining agreement will allow players to file workers compensation claims in states where their teams are not based, a loophole the league had tried desperately to close during negotiations.

The NFL and the National Football League Players Assn. signed off on the new CBA on Monday with both sides agreeing on terms that will allow the season to start Aug. 4. Workers compensation was among the sticking points the two sides had yet to agree on as negotiations wound down over the past several days.

On July 23, an email by player representative and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees outlined three primary issues the players association still was grappling with, including workers compensation.

“The NFL is trying to impose a system where they can restrict which states we can file for workers comp,” Mr. Brees wrote in his email, which was published by the NBC Sports blog, Pro Football Talk. Mr. Brees added that workers comp is a “major benefit when it comes to long-term health care,” and that “(the players) will never let (the league) restrict our health and safety long term.”

Mostly at issue is California’s labor law, which has been the reason that several former pro football players file workers comp claims in the state despite not having played for any teams based there.

Under the state’s current law, it allows players to make a claim in California if the player has played at least one game within the state. The law grabbed attention in June when the Denver Broncos were sued by a subsidiary of Travelers Cos. Inc. regarding workers compensation claims made by retired Broncos players in California.

Under the new CBA, the ambiguity of California’s law for workers comp benefits remains the same. However, California lawmakers are aggressively trying to close the loophole that allows claims to be freely filed by players on teams based in other states, according to reports.

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