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Former players Christian Ballard, Greg Westbrooks sue NFLPA

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

Christian Ballard is suing the NFLPA. (USATSI)
Christian Ballard is suing the NFLPA. (USATSI)

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In the past few years, thousands of former NFL players have sued the league, saying that for years it had concealed the dangers of head injuries. And now the NFL will pay those retired players (without admitting any sort of guilt, for what it's worth).

But we haven't heard much about former players blaming the NFLPA for their injuries later in life.

Until now.

Former Vikings defensive lineman Christian Ballard and seven-year veteran linebacker Greg Westbrooks are suing the players union for not providing information about the potential for head injuries. Former union presidents Trace Armstrong, Troy Vincent and Kevin Mawae have been named in the suit.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday, and in it, Ballard and Westbrooks claim the NFLPA "withheld information from the players about the risks of head injuries."

The NFLPA issued a statement Friday:

"A lawsuit has been filed by two former NFL players, Christian Ballard and Gregory Westbrooks, in U.S. District Court in Missouri against the NFLPA and several former NFLPA Presidents, namely Trace Armstrong, Troy Vincent and Kevin Mawae.

It erroneously alleges that the NFLPA knowingly and fraudulently concealed from players the risks of head injuries players faced by playing in NFL games and practices over the last several decades. This lawsuit has no merit and we will defend our union and our past Presidents.

The NFLPA has made the health and safety of its members a priority and the advancements in professional football on concussion education, prevention and treatment are a result of our efforts."

Westbrooks played from 1975-81 and spent time with the Saints, Raiders, Cardinals and Rams. Ballard played in all 32 games for Minnesota in 2011-12 and recorded a sack and two fumble recoveries during his career.

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