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Lawrence Tynes sues Bucs for $20 million for MRSA infection

Former kicker Lawrence Tynes treats his MRSA infection with a PICC line that sends antibiotics to his arm.
Former kicker Lawrence Tynes treats his MRSA infection with a PICC line that sends antibiotics to his arm.
Published Apr. 8, 2015

TAMPA — Former kicker Lawrence Tynes filed a lawsuit against the Bucs claiming former Tampa Bay trainer Todd Toriscelli was the source of the MRSA infection that ended his NFL career in 2013.

The suit seeks $20 million in expected future earnings.

Tynes' lawsuit, filed Monday in Broward County Circuit Court, claims that "unsanitary conditions" at the Bucs' facility constituted negligence on the team's part and that the Bucs "failed to disclose and actively concealed ongoing incidents of infection" among others.

Tynes, 36, was paid his full salary of $905,000 by the Bucs in 2013 after the team placed him on the nonfootball injury list.

Bucs director of communications Nelson Luis said Monday that the team had no comment on the lawsuit.

The team identified at least three players who were diagnosed with MRSA in 2013: Tynes, guard Carl Nicks and cornerback Johnthan Banks. The team claimed the cases were unrelated, although the club had the facility sanitized after the outbreak of bacterial infections.

Toriscelli, now head trainer for the Tennessee Titans, had MRSA as a complication from several knee surgeries and was treating the infection with a peripherally inserted central catheter (a "PICC line"), the lawsuit says. Toriscelli "admitted to close friends" that his own infection was the source of Tynes' MRSA, having used the same hot and cold tubs and other therapy devices and equipment, the lawsuit claims.

"While many NFL teams took cautionary steps to protect against MRSA infections, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' flagrant and negligent behavior suggests that they were willing to take shortcuts at the expense of their players' safety," said Tynes' attorney, Stephen F. Rosenthal.

The lawsuit says several other people and players connected with the team were rehabbing at One Buc Place and were battling bacterial infections, including Nicks, special teams coach Dave Wannstedt, offensive linemen Davin Joseph and punter Michael Koenen.

Nicks, who contracted MRSA during the preseason in 2013, played in only two regular-season games that year. In August 2014, the Bucs agreed to a $3 million settlement with Nicks, who said he had decided "to step away from the game."

As he had every offseason during his nine-year career, Tynes, a free agent from the Giants, had a toenail procedure done on his right big toe July 30 and was encouraged to begin rehabilitation at the team's training facility known as One Buc Palace.

A few weeks later, Tynes was diagnosed with MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection.

"Mr. Tynes has won multiple Super Bowl championships and is widely regarded as one of the most accurate kickers in league history," Rosenthal said. "He had turned down a multi-million contract from the New York Giants when he agreed to join the Bucs as a free agent in July 2013. Now, as a result of Tampa Bay's actions, he will never kick again."