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Former NFL players sue league over supplying painkillers during their careers

Former NFL players sue league over supplying painkillers during their careers

A group of high-profile former National Football League players filed suit against the league Tuesday, alleging the league supplied them with potentially addictive painkillers throughout their careers, heedless of the long-term health implications.

Filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California in San Francisco, the lawsuit seeks class action status and comes less than a year after the NFL agreed to pay $765 million to settle lawsuits filed by retired players who accused the league of concealing the health risks related to concussions. In January, a federal judge rejected preliminary approval of the settlement, saying the amount seems inadequate to cover concussion-related liability claims.

Plaintiffs in the new lawsuit suit include several high-profile former players including Hall of Fame defensive end Richard Dent and his former teammate, Jim McMahon.

“In contravention of federal criminal laws, the NFL has intentionally, recklessly and negligently created and maintained a culture of drug misuse, substituting players' health for profit,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit details the intensive drug regimes the players undertook during their careers. In the case of Mr. McMahon, who was starting quarterback on the championship 1985 Chicago Bears team, he became dependent on painkillers over the course of his career and 18 surgeries, according to the suit.

“While playing in the NFL, Mr. McMahon received hundreds, if not thousands, of injections from doctors and pills from trainers, including but not limited to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as Toradol, Percocet, Novocain injections, amphetamines, sleeping pills and muscle relaxers,” the lawsuit states. “No one from the NFL ever talked to him about the side effects of the medications he was being given or cocktailing.”

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