Two former Chicago Bears the latest to sue NFL over concussions
BY KIM JANSSEN Federal Courts Reporter email@example.com December 14, 2012 4:06PM
New York Jets Raymond Austin celebrates after blocking a Tampa Bay Buccaneers punt in the first quarter Sunday, Dec. 14, 1997, at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The Jets won 31-0. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Updated: December 15, 2012 12:11AM
Two former Chicago Bears are the latest retired NFL players to sue the league over its handling of concussions.
Backup linebacker Bruce Herron — who wore Dick Butkus’s famous No. 51 jersey from 1978-82 — and Raymond Austin, a backup defensive back from 1998-99, brought the lawsuit against the NFL alongside Gerry Sullivan, an Oak Park native who was a backup offensive lineman with the Cleveland Browns from 1974-81.
All three men are suffering from “traumatic brain injuries” as a result of concussions they suffered while playing in the league, according to their attorney William Gibbs of lawfirm Corboy and Demetrio.
More than 3,500 former players — including former Bear Shaun Gayle and the family of the late Dave Duerson — have pending suits against the league relating to its handling of concussions.
The NFL has consistently denied allegations in all of the suits, insisting player safety has long been a priority and that it never intentionally mislead players about the dangers of football.
While the players filed the suit in Cook County Circuit Court, the NFL has filed a motion in the case to move it to federal court - arguing its the proper jurisdiction.
Gibbs said he expects the latest case — which also targets helmet manufacturer Riddell — to be consolidated with hundreds of other similar cases in federal court in Philadelphia before it is finally tried in Chicago.