CLEVELandMILIDH Posted June 26, 2009 Report Share Posted June 26, 2009 CLEVELAND BROWNS Football News, Schedule, Pictures, Roster & More Former Cleveland Browns receiver Joe Jurevicius sues team, doctors, Cleveland Clinic over staph infection by Mary Kay Cabot, The Plain Dealer Friday June 26, 2009, 11:27 AM Former Browns receiver Joe Jurevicius has filed a civil suit in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court against the Browns, the Cleveland Clinic, former team physician Dr. Anthony Miniaci and current team physician Dr. Richard Figler, for negligence and fraud that he alleges led to a staph infection that might have ended his NFL career. The suit claims that the Browns and their team physicians failed to warn Jurevicius that sterile techniques were not at all times used at the Browns training facility in Berea; that therapy devices passed among multiple individuals, including Browns players, were not properly maintained and/or cleaned, if at all; and that community equipment and frequently used surfaces were not properly cleaned, if at all. Jurevicius, a former star at Lake Catholic High School, maintains that he contracted staph in his knee because he was not warned and because Browns staff members did not tell the truth about maintenance and cleaning of the Browns facility. Browns director of public relations Neal Gulkis did not immediately return a call for comment. Jurevicius underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Jan. 7, 2008 and began his post-operative rehab at the Browns facility. On Jan. 21, 2008, his right knee became swollen, he was unable to walk, and he experienced severe shaking and chills. The next day he was diagnosed with a staph infection. Since that time he has undergone seven medical procedures designed to eradicate the staph. The Browns released Jurevicius on March 12, rather than pay him a roster bonus. He was due to make $2.4 million in the final season of a four-year contract he signed in 2006. Click to read an October 2008 story on staph infections' impact on the Browns. Jurevicius' staph infection was one of seven publicized incidents of staph infection the Browns have had since 2003. • Tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., traded to Tampa Bay this offseason, suffered two. His first case came in 2005 after surgery to repair a torn knee ligament in which he was hospitalized and lost almost 30 pounds. The second was last season. • Former Browns center LeCharles Bentley remains out of football after suffering a staph infection that he said was life-threatening. The infection was diagnosed shortly after surgery to repair a torn tendon in his left knee in 2006. • Jurevicius' infection surfaced two weeks after his arthroscopic knee surgery in January of 2008. • Receiver Braylon Edwards missed two games during his rookie year in 2005 with a staph infection that had to be surgically removed from his right arm. • A recurring staph infection in an elbow all but wiped out former safety Brian Russell's 2006 season. • In late 2003, former linebacker Ben Taylor wound up in the Cleveland Clinic for five days with a staph infection after reporting to practice with a scratch near his elbow and flulike symptoms that worsened during the day. The Browns may have tried to bring Jurevicius back for this season at the NFL minimum salary of $845,000 for veterans of 10 or more years -- the same concession made by offensive lineman Ryan Tucker. General manager George Kokinis talked with Jurevicius' agents about a deal at the NFL Combine. "We tried to work something out and it just ended up not coming to a conclusion," Kokinis said then. ". . . Joe's done a lot. I know what he means to this team." In a statement issued at that time by agent Mark Humenik, Jurevicius indicated there was more than money involved in the Browns' decision. The statement said: "As a Cleveland native and lifelong Browns fan, I always hoped to finish my career in brown and orange with my family and friends in the stands, and was even willing to take a steep pay cut to keep that dream alive, which is why I have such a heavy heart today." Jurevicius, a native of Timberlake, Ohio, said at that time he will "forever cherish the three seasons that I spent here and will never forget the chills that I got whenever I stepped foot on the field on the shores of Lake Erie." A marriage of Jurevicius and new coach Eric Mangini seemed doomed from the start. In December, Jurevicius was one of the few players to speak out publicly and endorse the Phil Savage-Romeo Crennel management team. He felt the 4-12 season in 2008 was an aberration caused by injuries and roster immaturity. He appealed to Lerner to stay the course. Jurevicius played in three Super Bowls with three different teams in his career before signing with the Browns in 2006. In that off-season, he joined local products LeCharles Bentley and Bob Hallen, both centers, and punter Dave Zastudil in using free agency to return home to play. Only Zastudil remains. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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