Buccaneers kicker Lawrence Tynes plans to file a a grievance against the team after it placed him on the non-football injury list Saturday instead of injured reserve. Tynes is battling MRSA, which, according to the Mayo Clinic, “is caused by a strain of staph bacteria that's become resistant to the antibiotics commonly used to treat ordinary staph infections.”
The team has agreed to pay Tynes his $840,000 base salary, even though it's not required of players who end up on the NFI list. But by not being placed on IR, Tynes will lose an accrued season toward his retirement pension.
Hence the grievance.
"This whole thing is wrong," Tynes told FoxSports.com's Mike Garafolo. "My biggest emphasis is I don't want this to happen to any current or future player. I'm going to fight this thing as long as I have to, because this team should not be allowed to do this to players.
"If I drop a 45-pound plate on my foot while lifting weights in the weight room at the facility, it's IR. So I just don't understand how my situation is any different. I went to work, I kicked, I practiced, I cold-tubbed, I hot-tubbed, I showered for all those days there. I come up with MRSA and it's a non-football injury? They're basically trying to exonerate themselves of this, and I'm not going to allow it to happen."
Put another way: By the Buccaneers putting Tynes on the NFI list instead of IR, it's their way of saying that the kicker has no proof that the MRSA infection originated at the team's facility, even if one of Tynes' teammates, guard Carl Nicks, has also been affected.
Earlier this week, Bucs coach Greg Schiano said that Tynes and Nicks were "responding well to treatment," which prompted this response from Tynes' wife, Amanda.
And on Saturday, Amanda again took to Twitter.
The Bucs informed my husband via EMAIL that he will be placed on NFI. Wouldn't expect anything more from such a classy organization. #blkout— Amanda Tynes (@AmandaTynes9) August 31, 2013
"Historically, other teams have done the right thing," Lawrence Tynes said. "Other players who have had staph or MRSA, the appropriate designation is IR."
Not surprisingly, Tynes is concerned about his career.
"It is scary, I'm really scared," he said. "I'm scared for my health, primarily, but when you think about football, I was going to be the Bucs' kicker until I contracted MRSA. So yeah, I'm mad because I want to play football and I'm worried about my toe. I've had three procedures, I've had a PICC line, I don't know what else is next."
Tynes doesn't blame Bucs general manager Mark Domenik but he still plans to fight the decision to not put him on IR.
"It's the humanity of it -- not accepting blame and then trying to sugarcoat it with the salary," Tynes said. "That was their PR cover-up: 'At least you're getting paid.' "That's not the point. It's wrong."