BOSTON (CBS) — The NFLPA is crying foul against the New England Patriots and their medical staff.
Details of the players association’s grievance against the Patriots were published in a report by The Washington Post, alleging that the team delayed medical treatment for former defensive end Jonathan Fanene in 2012 as they tried to convince him to retire and force him to return his signing bonus:
A grievance letter sent by the players’ union cites an e-mail from former team physician Thomas Gill that the NFLPA contends shows Gill telling Patriots owner Robert Kraft and President Jonathan Kraft that he was “trying to put together a case” that would compel former defensive end Jonathan Fanene to return $3.85 million after he suffered a knee injury in 2012. The letter further asserts that Patriots Coach Bill Belichick directed Gill to delay any surgery on Fanene’s knee while an effort was made to persuade the player to retire, thus forgoing his bonus.
The Washington Post reached out to Gill, who called the grievance a “legal maneuver.”
Gill confirmed he wrote an e-mail to Kraft using the phrase “trying to put together a case,” but he disputed the context.
He said the training staff asked him to summarize for the Patriots’ owners why the player had been cut so soon after receiving a signing bonus.
“If it was an e-mail to Mr. Kraft, it was basically saying, ‘I’m going to put together the chronology the training staff had asked me to put together,’ ” he said.
The Patriots did not respond to the paper’s requests for comment.
When asked about the report on Friday, Belichick had very little to say.
“That case has been over for a long time,” said Belichick.
The grievance was first reported back in 2013, and an agreement between the team and Fanene was reached that summer.
Fanene signed a three-year, $12 million deal with the Patriots in the 2012 offseason, but suffered a knee injury before ever suiting up for the team. The team released him that August with a “failure to disclose physical condition” designation.
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