Six retired Eagles among 100+ vs. NFL

Jerry Robinson (File Photo)
Jerry Robinson (File Photo)
Posted: January 10, 2012

Six former Eagles are among 106 retired football players who have filed a mass personal injury lawsuit against the NFL.

The suit, filed Monday in Philadelphia, contends the NFL downplayed the risks of head injuries and failed to take steps to prevent traumatic brain impacts. It alleges the NFL's response to brain injuries was "one of deception and denial" and that until recently the organization "actively tried to conceal the extent of the problem."

The retired Philadelphia players named as plaintiffs include:

Harvey Armstrong, 51, a nose guard who played for the Eagles from 1982 to 1984. Armstrong, who later played for the Indianapolis Colts from 1986 to 1990, attributes dizziness, loss of memory, impulse control problems, neurological disorder, depression, suicidal thoughts to concussive injuries while playing in the NFL.

William "Bill" Cody, 67, a linebacker for the Eagles in 1972. Cody had previously played for the Detroit Lions in 1966 and the New Orleans Saints from 1967 to 1970. The suit alleges repeated head impacts has caused problems thinking an increased risk of brain disease.

Peter Lazetich, 61, was a defensive end for the Eagles from 1976 to 1978. He previously played for the San Diego Chargers from 1972 to 1975. The suit states that repeated head impacts has caused Lazetich headaches, dizziness, loss of memory, impulse control problems, depression, fatigue, and sleep problems.

Dennis McKnight, 52, was an offensive guard for the Eagles in 1991. He previously played for the San Diego Chargers from 1982 through 1989 and Detroit from 1990 to 1992. Injuries sustained as a player have caused McKnight headaches, loss of memory, depression, suicidal thoughts, sleep problems and irritability, according to the suit.

David Recher, 68, a center from 1965 to 1968. Recher says repeated and chronic head impacts during play increased risk of latent brain disease causing cognitive difficulties, according to the suit.

Jerry Robinson, 54, linebacker from 1979 to 1984 who was selected for the Pro Bowl in 1981 and was on the Eagles Super Bowl XV team. Robinson later played for the L.A. Raiders from 1985 to 1992. The suit states that repeated head impacts while playing caused Robinson dizziness, loss of memory, depression, suicidal thoughts, fatigue and sleep problems.

Most of the players also note they suffer from irritability and cervical spine arthritis which subjects them to chronic numbness and tingling.

The suit is one of several filed in U.S. District Courts across the nation. Similar complaints were filed last month in Atlanta, Miami and New York.

"It's a very widespread problem, shockingly widespread," said Richard Lewis, an attorney with Hausfeld L.L.P. who is representing the players. "Other lawyers have also filed. If you add up all the plaintiffs, it's approaching 1,000 players."

Hausfeld, Lewis said, has offices in Philadelphia and Washington D.C. Lewis said a panel of federal judges will decide later this month if all the suits should be consolidated.


Contact staff writer Sam Wood at 215-854-2796 or samwood@phillynews.com.

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