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Ex-Players Sue NFL Over Use Of Painkillers

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Meghan McCorkell joined the Eyewitness News team in July 2011 as a...
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WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Damaging allegations against the NFL. Nearly 600 retired players filed suit, accusing the league of plying them with painkillers instead of treating their injuries–leading to long-term damage and even drug addiction. The lawsuit involves former players from every team, including the Baltimore Ravens.

Meghan McCorkell has more on the suit.

Those players claim they weren’t told about broken bones and serious injuries. Instead, they were given massive amounts of drugs to help them get back on the field.

For 10 NFL seasons, Jeremy Newberry says he was injected with anti-inflammatories nearly every game.

“It’s almost like a cattle call. You would have 20 to 25 guys standing with your pants half down, waiting in line for a doctor that’s got 100 different syringes lined up,” said Newberry, a former NFL center.

Now, at age 38, he suffers from stage three renal failure.

“If my kidneys get any worse, I’ll be on dialysis,” he said. “If they get a lot worse, I’ll be looking for kidney transplants.”

Newberry is among nearly 600 former players suing the NFL, claiming the league illegally gave them multiple drugs to mask pain, causing long-term damage.

According to the complaint, players say they were “fed a constant diet of pills to deal with the pain” and drugs were “handed out to us like candy.”

Baltimore attorney Steve Silverman represents the players.

“Basically what you have on any given Sunday is a majority of players are anesthetized gladiators going out and playing the game of football,” Silverman said.

The case comes less than a year after the NFL agreed to a $765 million settlement with retired players who accused the league of concealing the dangers of concussions.

“I was only made aware of [the latest lawsuit] just briefly, but I don’t believe any of our attorneys have had an opportunity to look at it,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

The players are seeking financial damages, long-term care and changes to the NFL’s drug policies.

None of the former Ravens involved in the lawsuit has been named yet.

Attorneys–who are seeking class action status–say they expect the number of players involved in the lawsuit will grow.

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