Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Brad Culpepper sues NFL over concussions

TAMPA — Brad Culpepper was blocking on a kickoff return for the Vikings on Nov. 7, 1993, when he collided with a 6-foot-3, 250-pound Charger whose job was to bust the three-man wedge.

Both fell, Culpepper said, his face mask was bent, and he was unconscious for 15 seconds, the result of a concussion.

"I couldn't remember the plays, couldn't remember really anything," Culpepper, about 6-1, 275 pounds at the time, said Wednesday. "After the game, they got me to the hospital. I stayed the night, was released the next morning, worked out in the weight room the next morning and two days later was on the field for practice and played the next weekend.

"I think that's an example of something that was probably incorrectly dealt with."

Culpepper, a tackle (1992-2000) with the Vikings, Bucs and Bears, is the lead plaintiff in a concussion lawsuit with 25 other players against the NFL filed Monday by the Locks Law Firm.

Charley Hannah, a lineman (1977-88) with the Bucs and Raiders, is a single plaintiff in another lawsuit filed by Locks, a personal injury firm with offices in Philadelphia, New York and Cherry Hill, N.J. (a suburb of Philadelphia). Culpepper, 43, would not disclose his medical issues resulting from concussions.

"It's a matter of what knowledge the NFL had and maybe knowledge they should've had, and the protocol in which they used to help the players when a head injury was diagnosed," Culpepper said.

Other former players in the lawsuit, filed in Pennsyl­vania, include Jim Arnold, a punter for three teams (1983-94); J.C. Pearson, a defensive back for two teams (1986-93); Len St. Jean, a guard for the Patriots (1964-73); and Joe Tafoya, a defensive end for three teams (2001-07).

In all, there are 70 lawsuits against the league involving about 1,800 former players.

Culpepper, now a personal injury attorney in Tampa, noted the NFL has since enacted rules to prevent concussions, including moving kickoffs up 5 yards to the 35 and eliminating wedge blocking. In addition, there is a protocol for players returning after sustaining a concussion.

The former Florida standout said like many players in the 1990s, he was unaware of the long-term effect of concussions.

"Did I know it's going to potentially cause life-ending problems or dementia? Not like I do now," Culpepper said. "Would that have changed how I feel about playing? I don't know. I can't put myself in that situation. Quite frankly, I probably would not have. But it's like a cigarette. You know they're bad for you. There's warning labels all over the cigarettes. Yet you may choose to do it.

"There were no warnings. It wasn't like they sat a player down and said, 'Look, if you get a concussion or you get numerous concussions, this could scramble your brain for good.' "

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Brad Culpepper sues NFL over concussions 05/09/12 [Last modified: Thursday, May 10, 2012 7:41am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. NHL All-Star Game logo revealed


    The NHL released its official logo for the 2018 All-Star Game, which will be held at Amalie Arena in Tampa Jan. 28. It's fitting there's palm trees, water and a sunset tones in the logo.

  2. For starters: Rays at Orioles, with Cobb on hill, Beckham in lineup


    UPDATE, 3:46: After sitting out Thursday in recovering from extraction of a tooth, former Rays SS Tim Beckham is in the Orioles lineup tonight for his first game against his ex-mates, batting leadoff and playing short.

  3. Bucs defensive end Chris Baker (90) is seen during training camp last month at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. Bucs' defensive attributes in opener included flexibility


    TAMPA — It's a blink-and-you-miss-it nuance, but in Sunday's opener against Chicago, on their very first defensive snap, the Bucs lined up in a 3-4 defense.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter shakes hands with cornerback Brent Grimes (24) before an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times 

  5. Bucs-Vikings: What if O.J. Howard and Dalvin Cook had both been taken?


    So what if the Bucs had taken neither O.J. Howard nor Dalvin Cook with the 19th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft?

    Bucs tight end O.J. Howard (80) makes a reception as Chicago Bears free safety Eddie Jackson (39) tackles him Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]