Retired players: NFLPA lacked authority to negotiate benefits

A group of 28 retired NFL players filed a federal class-action lawsuit Tuesday against the NFL Players Association, union chief DeMaurice Smith, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and former player Mike Vrabel, claiming that the defendants lacked the authority to negotiate terms of retiree benefits in this summer's collective bargaining agreement.

The plaintiffs include Hall of Famers Carl Eller, Chuck Bednarik and John Hannah. They maintain that once the NFLPA decertified on March 11, just before being locked out by the NFL, the defendants lost the right to negotiate retiree benefits.

"They were not a union at that time," Michael Hausfeld, the plaintiffs' lawyer, told Yahoo! Sports.

The suit, which was filed in United States District Court in Minnesota, seeks a declaration that the right to negotiate retiree benefits with the NFL rests with the Eller plaintiffs.

George Atallah, the NFLPA's assistant executive director of external affairs, declined comment on the suit. The individual players could not be immediately reached for comment.

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