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Ex-kicker Lawrence Tynes sues Bucs over MRSA infection

Former Bucs kicker Lawrence Tynes has filed a lawsuit against the Bucs, claiming he lost in excess of $20-million in "expected future earnings."

Pro Footballer Lawrence Tynes Kicks For — And Then Sues  — Tampa Bay

At one time, Lawrence Tynes was invincible in professional football. A terrific kicker with star power, Tynes had a knack for coming through in the clutch. Many fans remember the 2007 and 2011 season when he kicked over time game-winning field goals for the New York Giants.

When Tynes was 36, he gave up football for good. After nine active seasons he wasn’t in a hurry to spend more time with his wife and twin boys. Tynes hadn’t abandoned his goal of earning an All-Pro position either.

Tynes is the only player in NFL history to have two overtime game-winning field goals in the playoffs. Tynes kicked the longest postseason field goal in Lambeau Field postseason history (47 yards) in the 2007 NFC Championship Game.

The Curtain Drops

In 2013, after signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tynes contracted an aggressive staph infection.

Tynes blamed the owners and operators of the Bucs’ training facility and sued for $20 million, the amount he thinks he would have earned if he were find for another half-dozen or so seasons.

Tynes went from telling David Letterman war stories about the Super Bowl seasons with the Giants to agonizing over his situation with the Good Morning America squad even as he traded on his celebrity to land a gig as a consultant for a private aviation business. Tynes didn’t foresee the curtain dropping on him at the beginning of his career’s third act.

Fed up with the cold of MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Tynes inked a one-year deal with Tampa in 2013. Despite being in the top-20 roster of placekickers, Tynes went south to warmer weather where he believed he could have a good season and then sign a multiyear deal — with somebody, anybody.

Then his kicking foot got in the way.

Tynes’ habit of wearing cleats which were two sizes too small meant regular preseason podiatrist visits for ingrown toenails. On July 30, 2013, Tynes went to Bayshore Podiatry in Tampa, a consultant to the Bucs, Yankees and other sports teams.

The procedure to remove two-millimeters of his right toenail took ten minutes with the numbing the most time-consuming part.

The team suggested Tynes return to their facility for hot- and cold-tub baths while getting the wound’s dressing change. He did as told but noticed his toe didn’t heal as quickly as it had following other toenail treatments.

Eventually it turned red and swollen and made him feel feverish and too ill to practice. Tests of Tynes’ toe on August 9, 2013 showed the presence of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.

While the Bucs hired an outside firm to sanitize the facilities, the team also put five figures into a massive air purifier and instructed players to shower before leaving the locker room. Deverick Anderson, the director of Duke Infection Control Outreach Network, was brought in for a review. Anderson would later say the Bucs had the “lowest risk of transmitting MRSA to any other team.”
Tynes claimed the problem was the facility. “Half the damn team was on antibiotics.”
After cornerback Johnthan Banks came down with MRSA Anderson was brought back in to look at the situation again.

Tynes claimed in his lawsuit that “appropriate precautions intended to prevent a MRSA infection” were not in place in 2013.  His suit also claimed guard Davin Joseph, punter Michael Koenen and special teams coach Dave Wannstedt also underwent rehab for bacterial infections.

After multiple meetings between Tynes’, his lawyer, his agent and team representatives, the Bucs cut him in March 2014. Tynes conceded it was the end of his career and he sued.
The Takeaway

Tynes reached a settlement with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in February 2017. The  terms have not been disclosed.

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