(Reuters) - Former Super Bowl-winning kicker Lawrence Tynes is suing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for $20 million after contracting a MRSA infection in a toe on his kicking foot that prematurely ended his career, his lawyer said Tuesday.
Lawyer Stephen Rosenthal said Tynes contracted the infection in 2013 at the Buccaneers’ training facility.
The lawsuit filed late Monday in Broward County Circuit Court in Florida accuses the team of negligence for failing to suitably sanitize the facility to prevent the spread of the potentially fatal infection.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is caused by a rare strain of staph bacteria resistant to the antibiotics commonly used to treat ordinary infections.
Rosenthal told Reuters it would be “shocking” if the team was unaware of the risk of staph infections in a locker room setting.
“We do not know what the Bucs knew but we intend to find that out,” Rosenthal said.
Two other Tampa Bay players, Carl Nicks and Johnthan Banks, also contracted MRSA in 2013. Nicks, a two-time Pro Bowl guard, reached a settlement with the team over his infection and Banks recovered to play in 15 games for the Buccaneers in 2014.
Tynes, 36, won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants and also played with the Kansas City Chiefs during his nine-year National Football League career.
He joined Tampa Bay as a free agent in 2013 but never played in a game because of the infection. Tynes was paid his $905,000 salary during the season while on the non-football injury list.
Reporting by Steve Ginsburg in Washington; Editing by Eric Walsh