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Ex-NFL players say in lawsuit league used painkillers to mask injuries

A package of Thursday night NFL games may bring in $700 million a year for the league The NFL has another lawsuit on its hands, this one involving illegal painkillers. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

A lawsuit filed by retired National Football League players says that league illegally used painkillers to mask injuries, the Associated Press reports.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, says the NFL obtained and administered the drugs illegally without prescriptions and failed to warn players about potential side effects, all in order to expedite the return of injured players to the field and generate the highest possible profits.

Players say they weren't informed about broken legs and ankles and were given pills to alleviate the pain instead.

The lawsuit names eight ex-players, including three members of the Super Bowl champion 1985 Chicago Bears: Hall of Fame defensive end Richard Dent, offensive lineman Keith Van Horne and quarterback Jim McMahon. Six of the eight players involved in this litigation also were plaintiffs in a previous concussion-related lawsuit. The other players in the lawsuit are Jeremy Newberry, Roy Green, Ron Stone and Ron Pritchard and J.D. Hill.

In the concussion suit, the NFL was sued by more than 4,500 former players who said that the league knew about the risks of head injuries and did nothing to inform the players.

Last August, the league agreed to a settlement totaling $760 million, but in January, Judge Anita Brody denied preliminary approval for NFL concussion settlement, saying she was not "satisfied that the Settlement has no obvious deficiencies, grants no preferential treatment to segments of the class, and falls within the range of possible approval.”

Brody said there needs to be a way for the 20,000 other ex-players not named in the suit to be potentially paid over 65 years and again said that the settlement amount is not sufficient.

McCANN: What rejection of settlement means to concussion case against NFL

SI FLASHBACK: NFL and NFLPA need to take closer look at possible painkiller abuse

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