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Ravens, Eagles should tread lightly when taking pay from Suggs, Peters

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ESPN made a big splash today with a concept that was first articulated here 12 days ago, the day after word emerged that Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs tore an Achilles tendon.

As we explained on May 4:  “If a player suffers any injury while doing anything away from the supervision of the team, the condition is regarded as a ‘non-football injury.’  As a result, the player’s team could choose to not pay the player until the injury has healed.”

It’s not a new concept, some discovery made while Mort was scouring through the fine print of the new CBA.  Injuries and illnesses occurring away from the team facility are “non-football injuries” or “non-football illnesses,” respectively.  And whether the team will pay the player always is optional.

The Patriots, for example, paid linebacker Tedy Bruschi when he missed a season after surgery to repair a hole in his heart that caused a stroke.  Other players who have suffered illnesses or injuries unrelated to their employment surely have been stiffed, with little fanfare from the team that decided not to continue to issue game checks for a guy who can’t play for reasons unrelated to anything that happened in the line of duty.

As to Suggs and Eagles left tackle Jason Peters, a decision to not pay key players who claim they were injured while working out would be extremely unpopular, both with the affected players and with their peers.  Even if Suggs injured himself playing basketball, many NFL players spend portions of the offseason playing basketball, with no objection from their teams.  As to the Ravens, receiver Torrey Smith and other players (like defensive tackle Terrence Cody) participated in a charity basketball game in March.  If the Ravens had a problem with that, the Ravens surely would have told them not to do it.

Or, at a minimum, the Ravens would have told every member of the team that they play basketball at their own peril.

Now, the Ravens and Eagles may attempt withhold salary at their own peril.  Barring evidence that the injuries occurred while the players were engaged in irresponsible and/or reckless activities, any money the teams save will translate to far greater losses in locker-room goodwill.

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13 Responses to “Ravens, Eagles should tread lightly when taking pay from Suggs, Peters”
  1. bss753 says: May 17, 2012 12:40 AM

    No wonder Suggs was talking he would be back for the 2012 season. I wouldn’t pay, they pay these guys alot they have to be careful with what type of activity they do in the offseason.

  2. all32 says: May 17, 2012 1:44 AM

    It a business! Apply for disability…

  3. KIR says: May 17, 2012 2:13 AM

    Did the Steelers cut Rothlisbergers pay after the motorcycle accident w/o a helmet? These are two of the best players at their position who are in shape and prepared to perform at a high level. This could have happened anywhere, at anytime doing anything…walking up/down stairs, getting out of bed ect. They were not doing RECKLESS actives. I wouldn’t accept a penny less than what’s in my contract. Let the teams cut them. Another team will sign them for more money. Let’s see who needs who more. NFL contracts are horrible!

  4. Nick Gerhardt says: May 17, 2012 2:49 AM

    I’m not sure the Ravens or another NFL team told players much of anything during the lockout.

  5. jharmon64 says: May 17, 2012 3:40 AM

    DUH!

  6. eaglebobby says: May 17, 2012 6:00 AM

    Can you please tell us why “teams should tread lightly” if they intend to force the letter of the contract and not pay these guys who have gotten injured away from their training sites? They know the risks. For the Eagles, it’s already been reported they’ve talked to Peters’ agent to reduce his contract by 3.5M–which is what they’re paying his replacement, whom they wouldn’t have had to sign if he didn’t get injured at this point. To me, that only seems fair.

  7. chew33 says: May 17, 2012 7:22 AM

    They should tread lightly because it can create difficulty bringing in free agents in the future. Who wants to go somewhere where a team will take your money away because you got injured. Technically if someone gets injured in a car wreck they can take your money away.

  8. packersareandwillalwaysbebetterthanthebears says: May 17, 2012 7:23 AM

    I’m sure Aflac or unemployment would compensate.

  9. Jim says: May 17, 2012 8:19 AM

    So now Peters was working out when he was injured? I thought he was injured in the kitchen after breaking his scooter.

  10. ironcity6pak says: May 17, 2012 9:40 AM

    If the team knows they are playing other sports for recreation in the off season and don’t have a problem with it then they should pay them.

  11. fatediesel says: May 17, 2012 10:17 AM

    Bruschi didn’t miss a season when he had his stroke, he missed 7 games.

  12. gassiusclay says: May 17, 2012 10:22 AM

    Maybe I am missing the point.

    I am a nurse…I cannot work if, for example, I break my arm. If I injured myself at work, I get paid. If I injured myself out of work I can no longer work and have to get disability…

    How should this situation be different?

  13. bonato55 says: May 17, 2012 6:30 PM

    taking their money would just be wrong, why would any player practice and or get in shape during the off season if they could risk losing MILLIONS! Not right at all, now maybe if they hurt themselves doing something stupid ok but these guys dont deserve it

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