Lawrence Tynes says MRSA infection ended NFL career

ByPat Yasinskas ESPN logo
Tuesday, April 7, 2015

TAMPA, Fla. -- Former Buccaneers kicker Lawrence Tynes has sued the team, claiming that unsanitary conditions at the team's facility led to him contracting MRSA.

Tynes claims the infection led to the end of his career, and he is asking for $20 million in expected future earnings, according to a news release issued by Tynes' attorneys. Tynes was signed by the Bucs in 2013 but never kicked for the team, as he was diagnosed with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus at the start of training camp.

The lawsuit claims the Bucs failed to disclose and actively concealed ongoing incidents of the infection among other individuals who used and visited the team's facilities. It also is alleged that the Bucs failed to employ necessary sterile techniques and routinely left therapy devices, equipment and surfaces unclean.

The Buccaneers told on Tuesday morning that the team does not comment publicly on pending litigation matters.

Tynes told's Elizabeth Merrill on Monday night that he spent eight or nine days without being diagnosed and his infection worsened. He eventually went to an outside doctor.

"No one cultured my toe at the facility," Tynes said. "I left that facility on my own and found a doctor in town and said, 'Can you look at my toe because I think all the doctors at the Bucs are lying to me.'

"And I took my sock off, he looks at my toe, without any scientific study or anything, he said, 'You have MRSA.' And I'm at a billion-dollar company with the supposed best doctors in the world, and not one of them told me that I had that? I know they knew I had it. They just didn't want me to have it."

Tynes said he almost had his toe amputated because of the infection. He underwent three surgeries and had a peripherally inserted central line above his heart for six weeks of antibiotic therapy.

Tynes said he was approached last year by a few teams that were interested in him but that he is unable to play anymore because of the pain in his toe. He said he is reminded of the infection every time he gets out of bed and his feet hit the ground.

One of his lawyers, Matt Weinshall, believes Tynes could have kicked another seven or eight years. Tynes was 35 when he contracted MRSA.

"I'm standing up for what I think is right," Tynes said. "Or what I know is right. I'm in this thing 'til the very end. I'm not going away.

"You expect this billion-dollar enterprise to protect you at all costs, and obviously, they didn't do a lot of right things."

Guard Carl Nicks also was diagnosed with MRSA during that 2013 preseason. He has not played since then and has parted ways with the Bucs. Cornerback Johnthan Banks was diagnosed with MRSA during that season but didn't miss any playing time.'s Elizabeth Merrill contributed to this report.

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