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Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - Page updated at 08:00 p.m.

Ex-Washington State quarterback Mark Rypien is lead plaintiff in a suit against NFL

By The Washington Post and The Associated Press

Former Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien is the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit that seeks compensation and medical care from the NFL for "repeated traumatic injuries to his head" he incurred during his playing career.

Rypien, 49, was a college standout at Washington State and played for five teams in 11 NFL seasons.

According to the suit, Rypien had multiple concussions and head injuries during his pro career and suffers from "various neurological conditions and symptoms related to multiple head traumas."

In the suit, which was filed March 23 in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Rypien and 126 other former pro players allege the league was aware of the dangers and risks of "repetitive traumatic brain injuries and concussions for decades, but deliberately ignored and actively concealed" the information, court documents say.

Theirs is the latest in a rising number of concussion- and head trauma-related class-action suits leveled against the NFL by former players. The league is facing about a half-dozen class-action suits and "many more" multiaction suits from an estimated 1,000 former players, according to Gene Locks of the Locks Law Firm in Philadelphia.

Locks' firm is representing more than 600 former players, including Rypien, in class-action suits.

"We think the league delayed, didn't do a competent job of monitoring, and in many cases disregarded what it knew about concussions," Locks said in an interview Tuesday. "It's a sad commentary."

Owners approve

salary-cap reductions

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Team owners ratified the agreement between the league and players' union that takes away $36 million in salary-cap space from Washington and $10 million from the Dallas Cowboys.

Other than Washington and Dallas, no team voted to oppose the agreement, which raised the salary cap for 2012 from about $113 million to $120.6 million. Washington and the Cowboys sought arbitration, which will be conducted by University of Pennsylvania professor Stephen Burbank.

Both teams were penalized for overloading contracts in the 2010 uncapped season despite league warnings not to do so. Each team must take at least half the reduction this year.

The Cowboys will play in the season opener Sept. 5, visiting the Super Bowl champion New York Giants. That game will be on a Wednesday night because President Obama is scheduled to address the Democratic National Convention on Sept. 6.

"Who cares who we are playing, hosting the game is all that's important," said a joking Giants owner John Mara, knowing well the champion hosts the kickoff to the next season. "It's exciting. They're one of our big rivals."

Owners approved competition-committee recommendations for points of emphasis in the 2012 season, including blows to the head, horse-collar tackles and taunting.


• The Minnesota Vikings re-signed linebacker Erin Henderson, 25, and signed ex-Chicago cornerback Zack Bowman, 27, both to one-year contracts.

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