Former players filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL that alleges illegal use of prescription painkillers in an attempt to keep them on the field and play through injuries.
Among those named as plaintiffs in the complait, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, are former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon and teammates Richard Dent, a Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end, and Keith Van Horne, an offensive lineman.
The former players stated in the suit, which was obtained by the Associated Press on Tuesday, that the drugs were given and acquired illegally and the players were not warned of the potential hazards of taking them. Their claim also states that the painkillers were given to help the players return from injuries faster and to maximize the league's profits.
"We have not seen the lawsuit and our attorneys have not had an opportunity to review it," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.
Some claimed in the suit that they became addicted to the drugs after they retired from football.
"I was provided uppers, downers, painkillers, you name it while in the NFL," said former receiver J.D. Hill, who played in the 1970s. "I became 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."
McMahon stated in the lawsuit that he was given medications and was told to keep playing through a broken neck and ankle. He also contends that he became addicted to painkillers.
"The NFL knew of the debilitating effects of these drugs on all of its players and callously ignored the players' long-term health in its obsession to return them to play," said Steven Silverman, the attorney for the players.
The suit comes on the heels of the NFL reaching a settlement last year in a concussion lawsuit initiated by former palyers for $765 million, which was deemed insufficient and rejected by a judge in January.