San Francisco: Eight retired players sued the National Football League on Tuesday over medications they say were obtained illegally and given as painkillers to numb injuries without regard for future health concerns.
The lawsuit, filed in a San Francisco federal court, alleges the NFL put profits ahead of player safety in giving players drugs without prescriptions and without warning about side effects or other potential risks such as addiction.
"We believe it's a significant case that will eventually help players and future players in future situations like this," Andrew Slutkin, a partner in the Baltimore law firm that investigated the claims, told the Baltimore Sun.
The lawsuit comes after the league settled a lawsuit by former players involving concussions last year for $765 million, although that settlement agreement has yet to be approved over a judge's concerns the amount might not be enough.
The lawyers want the latest case to become a class action lawsuit and that could open the door for more than 500 other players to add their names.
Jim McMahon, Jeremy Newberry, Richard Dent, Keith Van Horne, Ron Stone, Roy Green, JD Hill and Ron Pritchard are the eight players named in the suit.
The 87-page complaint claims the players were doped up on opiates and painkillers to keep them on the playing field.
Hill played for seven seasons in the 1970s for the Buffalo Bills and the Detroit Lions.
"I was provided uppers, downers, painkillers, you name it, while in the NFL," Hill said in a statement. "I become addicted and turned to the streets after my career and was homeless. Never took a drug in my life, and I became a junkie in the NFL."
Newberry said he would get in line before games with his teammates to get shot up with drugs.
"Pregame, maybe 15 other starters and I would receive a shot of Toradol," the former Oakland Raider and San Francisco 49er said in a statement.
"During the game, I would often receive multiple injections of painkillers. After the game, I would take at least 2 Vicodin and occasionally additional pills ... we would then be given Ambien or some other sleep medication to sleep."