Seau family files suit against NFL, Riddell

McClatchy news servicesJanuary 25, 2013 

Add Junior Seau’s family to the thousands of people who are suing the NFL over the long-term damage caused by concussions.

Seau’s ex-wife and four children sued the league Wednesday, saying the former linebacker’s suicide was the result of brain disease caused by violent hits he sustained while playing football.

The wrongful death lawsuit, filed in California Superior Court in San Diego, blames the NFL for its “acts or omissions” that hid the dangers of repetitive blows to the head. It says Seau developed chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) from those hits, and accuses the NFL of deliberately ignoring and concealing evidence of the risks associated with traumatic brain injuries.

Seau died at age 43 of a self-inflicted gunshot in May. He was diagnosed with CTE, based on posthumous tests, earlier this month.

An Associated Press review in November found that more than 3,800 players have sued the NFL over head injuries in at least 175 cases. The total number of plaintiffs is 6,000 when spouses, relatives and other representatives are included.

Helmet manufacturer Riddell Inc., also is a defendant, with the Seau family saying Riddell was “negligent in their design, testing, assembly, manufacture, marketing, and engineering of the helmets” used by NFL players.

IDZIK INTRODUCED

Former Seahawks executive John Idzik was introduced Thursday as the New York Jets’ new general manager, replacing the fired Mike Tannenbaum.

The 52-year-old Idzik, formerly the vice president of football administration for the Seahawks, insisted that the Jets will “explore every measure to bring in talent and to compete.” He added that the NFL draft will be the team’s “lifeline.”

He will face immediate challenges with the Jets, who are about $19 million over the salary cap. He will have to make decisions on whether to keep quarterbacks Mark Sanchez, who is due $8.25 million in guarantees next season and would cost the Jets a $17.1 million cap hit if they cut him, and Tim Tebow, who is not expected back after one disappointing and unproductive season.

SAINTS OUST SPAGNUOLO

The New Orleans Saints have fired defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo after one season — a record-setting year in the wrong way.

New Orleans ranked last in the NFL in total defense and run defense, yielding the most yards (7,042) ever in a single season. The Saints went 7-9 this season and allowed 454 points; only Tennessee gave up more.

Head coach Sean Payton, who returned to work this week after a season-long suspension, announced that Spagnuolo was being released. Payton also fired secondary coach Ken Flajole.

“Philosophically we are changing our defense to a 3-4 alignment,” Payton said, “and right now is the best time to accomplish this transition.”

EXTRA POINTS

The Jaguars agreed to terms with offensive line coach George Yarno, a former Washington State player and coach, defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker and quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo. … Former Houston quarterback Case Keenum and former Texas A&M quarterback Stephen McGee are among eight players signed to reserve/future contracts by the Texans. … Browns coach Rob Chudzinski has added assistants Brian Baker and Jon Embree to his staff.

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