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Neil Smith joins other former players in lawsuit against Chiefs

  • The Kansas City Star
  • Published Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, at 5:51 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, at 8:28 p.m.

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Chiefs Hall of Famer Neil Smith headlines a group of eight former Chiefs who have recently joined the workers compensation lawsuit that was filed against the team in early December.

On Dec. 3 ― just three months after the NFL agreed to settle what became known as “the Concussion Case” for $765 million ― Chris Martin and four other former Chiefs filed a lawsuit against the organization in an attempt to learn what the organization knew about concussions, and when it was known.

Since then, 17 other former Chiefs have joined in the suit. After a group of nine jumped in a week ago, Smith is now joined in an amended petition filed by Stephone Paige, Jayice Pearson, Trent Bryant, Charles Mincy, Darrel Colbert, Paul Palmer and Douglas Terry.

The 22 former players are seeking undisclosed financial damages in a petition says that each player suffered “multiple concussive and subconcussive blows to the head which caused or contributed to cause a constellation of neurologic/brain harms, including post-concussion syndrome and traumatic brain injuries, such as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.”

The petition also says that the Chiefs' “wrongful conduct” directly caused or contributed to this, and the petition also cites the team’s AstroTurf surface as an additional reason for their injuries.

The plaintiffs all played during years ― between 1987 and 1993 ― when there was no collective bargaining agreement in the NFL. For this reason, the players can sue an individual team rather than the league. And in 2005, an amendment to the workers’ compensation statute in Missouri allowed employees to sue employers in civil court if the employees declined workers’ compensation.

The window allowing such suits to be filed expires at the end of this month.

Smith, a five-time Pro Bowl selection for the Chiefs, recorded the second-most sacks in team history (86 1/2) during his nine-year stint in Kansas City, second only to longtime teammate Derrick Thomas, who recorded 126 1/2.

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to tpaylor@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/TerezPaylor.

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