Two wrongful-death lawsuits over the suicide of Pro Bowler Junior Seau have been consolidated with NFL concussion litigation in Philadelphia. A key hearing in the NFL case is set for Tuesday, when lawyers for thousands of former players will try to keep the issue in federal court. The league wants the claims heard in arbitration, under terms of the collective bargaining agreement.
The Seau lawsuits were moved from California, where the 43-year-old linebacker died May 2 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His survivors allege that throughout his career he sustained violent hits that caused traumatic brain injury, depression and ultimately his death.
Seau played for San Diego, Miami and New England during a 20-year career, which ended with his retirement in 2009. He was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, after his death.
Nearly 4,000 former players have filed concussion-related lawsuits, accusing the NFL of hiding the risks of concussions and head injuries and glorifying violence on the field.
“This success comes at a price to the players who make the game great,” Seau’s parents, Tiaina and Luisa Seau, said in their lawsuit. The other lawsuit was filed on behalf of Seau’s four children. The lawsuits are seeking medical monitoring for former players and potential damages.
The NFL doesn’t plan to comment until the court arguments before U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody, said spokesman Brian McCarthy. A lead plaintiff in the class action case, former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling, committed suicide in April, a year after signing on to the litigation.
Former Ram dies
Jack Pardee, an All-Pro NFL linebacker whose career with the Los Angeles Rams was interrupted in the mid-1960s when he battled malignant melanoma before returning to the field and becoming a well-traveled coach, died Monday in Denver. He was 76. Pardee was found to have gallbladder cancer in November, reports said.
Around the league
Cornerback DeAngelo Hall is back with the Washington Redskins, agreeing to a $2 million one-year contract after being cut three weeks ago.... The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed kicker Nate Kaeding, defensive linemen George Selvie and Derek Landri, running back Brian Leonard, and wide receiver Steve Smith. ... The Buffalo Bills signed free agent defensive lineman Alan Branch to a one-year contract. The Bills re-signed backup running back Tashard Choice, and tight end Dorin Dickerson accepted the team’s tendered contract offer. ... The Chicago Bears terminated veteran defensive tackle Matt Toeaina’s contract. Toeaina appeared in 36 games and made 24 starts over five seasons with the Bears. He had 66 tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble and two tackles for loss.