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Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Lawrence Tynes, who remains on a medicine line to deliver antibiotics directly into his system, filed an injury grievance on Tuesday with the team, according to league and union sources. The grievance is being handled by the NFLPA and it argues that the team violated proper protocol when it placed Tynes on the Non-Football-Injury list after he was infected with the potentially-deadly MRSA bacteria during training camp.
Tynes, 35, a Pro Bowl alternate last season, will remain on the line for at least two more weeks, according to his agent, Ken Harris, and for now is receiving his paychecks. However, by placing him NFI, Tynes is not able to receiver 401k matching or annuity benefits and also is blocked from accruing a season of service towards his pension, both which have significant financial ramifications.
Carl Nicks, the Bucs top guard, also was infected by MRSA, but he remained on their roster and returned to action in Week 3. According to union sources, their grievance claims that Tynes was not cultured for MRSA by the team -- causing a delay of over two weeks between when his diagnosis was made, and treatment began -- while Nicks was placed on the correct battery of drugs right away. Furthermore, the NFLPA claims that at least three other Bucs players contacted staph infections around the time Tynes got MRSA, and the union continues to investigate whether a member of the Bucs' training staff was being treated for MRSA as players were reporting to camp.
The grievance also states, according to union sources, that head coach Greg Schiano was part of the decision-making process to put Tynes on NFI -- and thus claim that he contacted a strain of MRSA different from what Nicks got at the team facility -- and that decision led to a delay in the kicker's diagnosis and treatment and the level of care made available to him. And the grievance also notes Schiano's remarks that Tynes was doing well and recovering at a time when he was actually getting the PICC line to his heart to stave off the infection. Schiano made no attempts to contact or communicate with Tynes throughout the ordeal, according to sources with knowledge of the situation, though GM Mark Dominik did at least once.
Tynes required two procedures to attempt to scrape the infection out and clean his infected toe, and it remains unknown if or when he can resume training for football. Should his career be in jeopardy, there could be grounds for additional legal action, the union believes.
The Buccaneers declined comment for this story.