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Lawsuit: NFL hid brain injury links

By Maryclaire Dale

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, June 7 2012 11:33 p.m. MDT

PHILADELPHIA — A concussion-related lawsuit bringing together scores of cases has been filed in federal court, accusing the NFL of hiding information that linked football-related head trauma to permanent brain injuries.

Lawyers for former players say more than 80 pending lawsuits are consolidated in the "master complaint" filed Thursday in Philadelphia.

Plaintiffs hope to hold the NFL responsible for the care of players suffering from dementia, Alzheimer's disease and other neurological conditions. Other former players remain asymptomatic, but worry about the future and want medical monitoring.

The suit accuses the NFL of "mythologizing" and glorifying violence through the media, including its NFL Films division.

"The NFL, like the sport of boxing, was aware of the health risks associated with repetitive blows producing sub-concussive and concussive results and the fact that some members of the NFL player population were at significant risk of developing long-term brain damage and cognitive decline as a result," the complaint charges.

"Despite its knowledge and controlling role in governing player conduct on and off the field, the NFL turned a blind eye to the risk and failed to warn and/or impose safety regulations governing this well-recognized health and safety problem."

The league has denied similar accusations in the past.

PATRIOTS RELEASE OCHOCINCO: The New England Patriots released receiver Chad Ochocinco on Thursday, cutting loose the six-time Pro Bowl selection after one season in which he was more active on Twitter than on the field.

"Thoroughly enjoyed the oppurtunity to play for the 'Patriot' organization... fans were ... wicked awesome, I wish all of you the best," he tweeted at about the same time the team was announcing he had been released.

Ochocinco, 34, played in 15 games in his only season with the Patriots, starting three and catching 15 passes for 276 yards. He caught one pass in the Super Bowl as New England lost 21-17 to the New York Giants.

SAINTS MAKE NEW OFFER TO BREES: The New Orleans Saints have made a new contract offer to record-setting quarterback Drew Brees, said a person familiar with the situation.

The Saints have placed their one-year franchise tag on Brees, barring him from negotiating with other teams. Brees has said he wants to remain in New Orleans but has skipped voluntary practices and this week's minicamp while holding out for a long-term deal.

If a deal were to get done over the weekend, Brees would be able to attend the Saints' final set of voluntary offseason practices next week.

BANKS OFFERED TRYOUT WITH SEAHAWKS: Brian Banks' NFL dream is alive for one more week, if he chooses to accept Pete Carroll's offer.

Banks, recently exonerated of rape and kidnapping charges after serving more than five years in prison and another five on parole, was given a tryout by the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday. About four hours after walking out of his hotel room, Banks stood before a bank of television cameras announcing the Seahawks have invited him back for their minicamp next week.

Banks has not accepted the invitation yet. He says he needs to speak with his agent and determine whether Seattle is his best option. But Banks, wearing a sweat shirt with "XONR8" on the front, said he was extremely appreciative that the Seahawks and Carroll are giving him a chance.

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