A lawsuit filed on behalf of several retired NFL players lost its highest-profile plaintiff on Tuesday in Tampa Bay Buccaneers Hall of Fame defensive end Lee Roy Selmon.
Lead attorney David A. Rosen said a clerical error led to Selmon and his brother and former Bucs teammate, Dewey, mistakenly being listed as plaintiffs in a suit against the NFL and two helmet manufacturers filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court. The suit claims the defendants were negligent in dealing with head injuries.
"We’re in the process of correcting these errors,’’ Rosen said Tuesday from his Los Angeles office. "We plan to re-file the suit after making the corrections.’’
The changes include adding ex-Bucs linebacker Scot Brantley to the list of plaintiffs, Rosen said.
Other former Tampa Bay players listed in the original document filed Friday were Jimmie Giles, James Wilder, Cedric Brown, Greg Roberts and Jesse Solomon.
Selmon did not return phone messages Monday and Tuesday.
Giles, the newest member of the Buccaneers Ring of Honor, said he joined the lawsuit because he anticipates mounting medical bills as a result of his 13-year playing career.
Giles, 56, still holds the Bucs franchise record with 34 career touchdown catches. He was featured prominently in a Tampa Tribune investigative report a year ago entitled "Broken Bucs,’’ chronicling the health problems suffered by members of the 1979 Buccaneers since their retirement from pro football.
"I think we have a strong case against the NFL,’’ Giles said Tuesday. "I’m looking for someone to take care of my medical bills if something happens to me. I don’t want that burden on my wife and family and I don’t want that burden on the state. Guys who played in my era still have to fight … and that’s sad.’’
Brantley, 53, said he is now on full medical disability from the NFL, a benefit which he estimates at approximately $40,000 a year.
"It’s there, we paid for it,’’ said Brantley. "They took it out of my check for eight years with the Bucs. I’m entitled to it. We don’t want a lawsuit, but if there’s a chance to get some help, you have to look into it. You’re crazy if you don’t.’ It’s (lawsuit) not as much for me as it is other people. A lot of guys – the Jerry Eckwoods of this world – are in dire need.’’
Eckwood, a former Bucs running back, is battling dementia at the age of 56.
According to Giles, players of his era weren’t served well by the NFL Players Association.
"I’ve been diagnosed with some early signs of stuff and doctors have me on a watch," Giles said. "I want to live a long, good life and right now, I suffer every day. It may not look like it when you see me, but believe me, I’m suffering every day.’’