CLEVELAND -- Former Browns wide receiver Joe Jurevicius has filed a lawsuit against the team and the Cleveland Clinic, saying the club misrepresented the cleanliness of its training facility and blaming doctors with negligence over a staph infection in his right knee that kept him from playing last season.
The lawsuit alleges that physicians Anthony Miniaci and Richard Figler failed to warn Jurevicius that therapy equipment wasn't always sanitized at the Browns' training facility in suburban Berea.
An NFL physicians survey of the league's 32 teams determined there were 33 MRSA staph infections leaguewide from 2006-08. The Browns had at least six players stricken with some sort of staph infection in recent years.
Jurevicius has said he contracted the staph infection after having arthroscopic surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in January 2008. As a result, the lawsuit claims, "Jurevicius may never be able to play professional football again."
Jurevicius, who grew up in the Cleveland area as a diehard Browns fan and attended their games when he was a kid, was released by the team in March. He's currently a free agent.
"In fact, an independent professional review earlier this year concluded that the Browns have taken appropriate steps to prevent MRSA infections at their facilities," Nance said.
Erinne Dyer, speaking on behalf of the Clinic and the doctors, said they wouldn't comment on pending litigation.
Jurevicius had 323 receptions for 4,119 yards and 29 touchdowns in 11 seasons with the Browns, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks. He set career highs with 55 receptions and 10 touchdowns for the Seahawks in 2005.
The legal filing in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court included an affidavit by Dr. Bonnie Bock, an infectious diseases specialist from Newport Beach, Calif., who said her examination of the case showed that Jurevicius' staph infection was due to circumstances outlined in the suit.
"Sterile techniques were not at all times used at the Browns' training facility," Dr. Bock said. "Therapy devices commonly used by multiple Browns players were not properly maintained, disinfected or cleaned, if at all, at the Browns' training facility."
Jurevicius' lawsuit asks for damages totaling more than $25,000, plus unspecified punitive damages, attorney and expert fees and related costs.
The lawsuit was first reported by The Cleveland Plain Dealer on its website.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press