Ex-Steeler Logan says NFL never warned about effects of painkillers
By Mark Kaboly
Published: Wednesday, May 21, 2014
“Believe me, there was a line wrapping around the locker room before games.”
Former Steelers safety Mike Logan was in that line more times than he would like to admit, waiting for a Toradol shot, never thinking about the consequences of taking an injection that made the pain go away, if only for a couple of hours.
A self-proclaimed “bubble roster guy” near the end of his career, Logan recalled taking a Toradol shot before games and then supplement that with a “cocktail” of pain killers and aspirin at halftime.
“After my first knee surgery, I was willing to do anything to get back on the field,” Logan said. “If it meant taking a shot or getting medication, I was willing to do it.”
Logan said he never was warned of the possible long-term risk of the popular painkillers or asked to sign a waiver by the organization.
“You just don't think of stuff like that,” Logan said.
Logan is not part of an 87-page complaint filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco by eight former players and more than 500 other unnamed ones that claims that the NFL “intentionally, recklessly and negligently created and maintained a culture of drug misuse, substituting players' health for profit,” but plenty of big-time names are.
Jim McMahon, Richard Dent, Jeremy Newberry, Keith Van Horne, Ron Stone, JD Hill and Ron Pritchard are named plaintiffs in the suit. It is unknown if any former Steelers makeup the unnamed players. An email to lead lawyer of the NFL Drug Class Action Lawsuit Steven Silverman was not returned.
“I took a lot of pain medications,” said Logan, who said he had eight football-related knee/ankle surgeries during his career. “My belief was that whatever was prescribed by the team doctors was in my best interest. I never thought about being over-prescribed. I believed in the medical staff.”
James Bradley, who has been the Steelers team doctor for more than two decades, administered the Toradol shots, Logan said.
“They would have people on the list and scratch your name off after you got it,” Logan said. “Dr. Bradley really looked out for you, though. He wasn't going to give you a shot unless you really needed it. I don't blame them for my choices.”
Ralph Cindrich, who played four years in the NFL before spending the past three decades as an agent, said he never heard a bad word about Bradley.
“You go to a guy like James Farrior and ask him what he thinks of (James Bradley), and it's ‘I love the man. He's a great guy and he watches out for you,' ” said Cindrich, who represented former Steelers Dermontti Dawson, Will Wolford and James Farrior. “His job is to get you out on the field, but he is not going to let you do things where you are going to do severe damage to yourself, and that's the difference.”
The flamboyant McMahon, who played for six teams during his 15 years in the NFL, including helping the Bears win Super Bowl XX, has a different story. McMahon contends in the suit that he received “hundreds if not thousands” of shots from doctors plus high volumes of pills from trainers without warnings from the NFL on possible side effects.
Cindrich, who has had knee and hip problems from his playing days, has seen painkiller abuse as a player and agent.
“You took what you had to take to play, and I bought into it,” Cindrich said. “I was lied to by doctors, but that was part of the culture of the NFL. Does that exist out there? Did I see it? Yes. Did I have it personally done on me? Absolutely and unequivocally. I think there is real and legitimate exposure of the NFL with this lawsuit.”
As for his playing career and taking pain medication, Cindrich said he would do it all over again. Logan said he wouldn't.
“Oh. heck yeah. Come on,” Cindrich said. “Your whole life and future as you see it is surrounded by football. It is what you are about. It is a way out.”
Not for Logan.
“No way,” Logan said. “The longer I get away from the game, the worse my body feels. The more I talk to veterans who came before me or played as long as I did and the way they feel, I wouldn't do it.”