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Monday, November 3, 2008
Ex-Bronco Wilson loses $7.5M medical grievance vs. team

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

An independent arbitrator ruled in favor of the Denver Broncos in a medical grievance filed against them by ex-team captain and former Pro Bowl linebacker Al Wilson.

Wilson suffered a neck injury in December 2006 in a game against Seattle. He was removed from the field on a stretcher after being temporarily paralyzed and was hospitalized for several hours. Wilson came back and played in Denver's final three games. However, three months later, Wilson failed a physical for the New York Giants, nixing a trade from Denver to New York.

Wilson was cleared to play earlier this year but decided to retire at the age of 31.

Wilson was seeking up to $7.5 million from Denver for lost wages for the 2007 season. His agent, Peter Schaffer, said Wilson lost the grievance, which has been in the works for nearly eight months, on a timing technicality, but he declined to elaborate. The arbitrator was Rosemary Townley of Larchmont, New York.

"I'm very disappointment that the ruling wasn't judged on its merits but on a very questionable technicality that we completely disagree with," Schaffer said. "The arbitrator took the easy way out."

However, Schaffer said it was Wilson's goal to make players and teams aware of serious injuries and make subsequent communication between team physicians and players better.

"We accomplished our goal of requiring teams to submit significant medical information to players moving forward," Schaffer said.

As part of the CBA, players and teams agree that such grievances are heard by independent arbitrators. There is no available appeal process.

Bill Williamson covers the NFL for ESPN.com.