Brett Romberg

Roscoe Parrish & Brett Romberg Among Former NFL PLayers Suing NFL

Dozens of former players joining a lawsuit against the NFL say teams kept handing out powerful painkillers and other drugs with few - if any- safeguards as recently as 2012. That extends by four years the time frame for similar claims made in the original complaint and could open the door to a criminal investigation.

"On flights home, the routine was the same everywhere," said Brett Romberg, who played center in Jacksonville (2003-05), St. Louis (2006-08) and Atlanta (2009 and 2011). "The trainers walked up and down the aisle and you'd hold up your hand with a number of fingers to show how many pills you wanted. No discussions, no questions. You just take what they hand you and believe me, you'll take anything to dull the pain."

With the federal Drug Enforcement Administration beginning to look into accusations contained in the lawsuit - filed in May and covering the years 1968-2008 - the new allegations could dramatically expand the investigation's scope, legal experts said. Any violation of federal drug laws after 2009 would not be subject to the five-year statute of limitations.

"Then it's no longer just about money. Then it's potentially about criminal conduct and that's a completely different ballpark," said Steven Feldman, a former assistant U.S. Attorney for New York's southern district.

"And all you need is one (criminal) act within the last five years to reach back and say, `The same group of doctors and trainers were there and' ... if you have enough of them doing the same thing in different locker rooms, well, it's hard to defend as a one-off," he added.

The NFL is not aware of "any DEA subpoenas or investigations into club practices," spokesman Greg Aiello wrote in an email Friday. "There has been a league-wide reporting system in place (to track controlled substances and prescriptions issued by team doctors) since 1973 for compliance with DEA and state law requirements."

The DEA declined comment, citing the agency's policy against discussing potential investigations. But law enforcement sources, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, confirmed that the agency was looking into allegations in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit on behalf of 500 former players was filed in U.S. District Court in northern California and amended two weeks later to add another 250. The nine named plaintiffs include current ESPN analyst Marcellus Wiley, Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon and Hall of Fame defensive lineman Richard Dent.

It contends the NFL and its teams, physicians and trainers acted without regard for players' health, withholding information about injuries while routinely - and often illegally - providing them with prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and Percocet, and anti-inflammatories such as Toradol, to mask pain and minimize lost playing time.

Lead plaintiffs' attorney Steve Silverman said this week that 500 more players have since joined the lawsuit, which is seeking class certification. The latest group includes dozens who played in the NFL between 2009 and 2012 and told lawyers in interviews that little had changed about how some teams handled the drugs. The Associated Press interviewed three of those players.

Romberg described the Jaguars as "very liberal" in doling out painkillers and called the Rams' training room a "huge free-for-all." He said there were some changes in the clubhouse between his two seasons in Atlanta.

"In 2011, you had to see the doctor first. ... You'd still get your Molotov cocktail, but they were tighter about documenting it," Romberg said.

Roscoe Parrish played wide receiver in Buffalo from 2005-11, then on the practice squads in San Diego, Oakland and Tampa Bay, in 2012.

"I had knee problems in 2010, so I started getting, I'm not sure, I think they were Vicodins, in a small white envelope. I played that game without pain, so it became routine," he said.

"I never saw a bottle. They were always in envelopes," Parrish said. "I got accustomed to (Buffalo trainer) Bud Carpenter giving me painkillers and didn't educate myself. All I cared about was playing."

The Bills declined a request to speak to Carpenter, but said in an email response: "Bud Carpenter strongly disagrees with Roscoe Parrish's accusation."

Patrick Cobbs, who joined New England in 2006 as an undrafted free agent and then caught on as running back in Miami through 2010, said he started taking painkillers to deal with hip and rib injuries in 2007-08.

"It seemed like the norm then. Now, you know what that's done to you and it seems so wrong," Cobbs said.

Six of the plaintiffs in the painkillers lawsuit, including McMahon and Van Horne, were also parties to the concussion-related class-action lawsuit last year against the NFL. A federal judge granted preliminary approval to a settlement nearly two weeks ago

The former players in the painkillers lawsuit have reported a range of debilitating effects, from chronic muscle and bone ailments to permanent nerve and organ damage to addiction. The players contend those health problems came from drug use, but many of the conditions haven't been definitively linked to painkillers.

Romberg, 34, had three stints inserted during heart surgery just a year after retiring, and said his doctors asked how the team never noticed the heart problems during physicals.

"It could be an anomaly," Romberg said, "and I don't know if there's any correlation. But a lot of pills I took, I look at the warning labels now and a few of them say `if you have heart issues, don't take them."'

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Brett Romberg supports proposed NFL deal

Tecumseh's Brett Romberg joined former Detroit Lions offensive tackle Lomas Brown and other former football players who hope a proposed $765 million settlement with the National Football League can make a difference in the lives of thousands of ex-players who are suffering from dementia and other concussion-related brain injuries.

"The NFL took a step in the right direction," said Romberg, a Belle River high school grad who retired from the NFL in 2012 after a nine-year career.

"They messed up in the past but the $765 million will be a much-needed Band-Aid, especially for those who suffered injuries 20 and 30 years ago."

Romberg, who said he suffered head trauma while playing football in high school, college and the pros, was one of 84 former players who started the lawsuit against the NFL in 2010.

He withdrew his name from the lawsuit to sign a $1-million contract with the Atlanta Falcons in 2012.

"I don't regret not being part of this settlement," Romberg said.

"I was aware of the consequences of my injuries but I wanted to leave the game on my own terms.

"I had another career to fall back on. I'm just glad to see the NFL acknowledge the direct correlation between head injuries and the pain and suffering of former players."

Romberg, 33, is now a sales manager of Tire Group International in Miami. His wife, Emily, is a corporate real estate lawyer.

Brown, a seven-time Pro Bowler with Detroit, Arizona, Cleveland, the New York Giants and Tampa Bay, and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon were among the more than 4,500 former athletes - some suffering from dementia, depression or Alzheimer's - who have sued the NFL since the first case was filed in Philadelphia in 2011.

They accused the league of concealing the long-term dangers of concussions and rushing injured players back onto the field, while glorifying and profiting from the kind of bonejarring hits that make for spectacular highlight-reel footage. "I'm curious how they came up with the figure and I've got a lot of questions, but I am happy that it's done," Brown told The Associated Press. "Any time the NFL acknowledges they are ready to settle something, it shows they knew they had some sort of negligence."

The settlement would mean immediate compensation for ailing former players and their families, as well as medical exams and treatment for all other retirees - a group that could total more than 20,000. It also would set aside $10 million for research that the plaintiffs hope will protect future generations from the devastating effects of repeated blows to the head.

The settlement still has to be approved by Senior U.S. District Judge Anita Brody in Philadelphia.

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Brett Romberg Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech

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VIDEO: Brett Romberg 2013 UM Hall of Fame Inductee allCanes Radio Show

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Brett Romberg Kept His Suit Against NFL Even After Re-Signing With Falcons Last Year

Former Dolphins quarterback Pat White wisely dismissed his concussion lawsuit (actually, he filed two of them) before returning to the NFL, signing with the Redskins.  But maybe he didn’t need to do that.  After all, two other players made comebacks without scrapping their own lawsuits against the league.

A league source advises that former Jaguars, Rams, and Falcons center Brett Romberg, a plaintiff in one of the original concussion lawsuits filed in July 2011, re-signed with the Falcons the following month, after a year out of football.

Cut in early September 2011, Romberg again re-signed with the Falcons later that month, remaining with the team for the balance of the year and appearing in two games.

We’ve also confirmed, as first reported by Nathan Fenno of the Washington Times, that defensive end Patrick Chukwurah signed with the Seahawks last season after filing suit for concussions suffered earlier in his career.

While not binding on the many other former players who have sued, this dynamic supports the notion that plenty of the concussion plaintiffs view the litigation as a lawyer-driven strategy for finagling a little extra money from a former employer, and that many of the players would welcome the chance to make more money playing football despite the brain damage they’ve supposedly sustained.

As Ross Tucker aptly put it earlier today on Twitter, “Pat White situation makes me wonder how many guys on concussion lawsuit would bail if a team offered them contract?”  We know Pat White would, because Pat White did.  Despite allegedly permanent injuries, White was perfectly fine when he had to be.
Even though that’s only one out of 4,000 plaintiffs, it does far more damage to the concussion lawsuits than any permanent harm White ever suffered in the NFL.

Especially since we now know that he actually suffered none.

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Brett Romberg settling into life after pro football

Football provided centre Brett Romberg with an athletic scholarship to the University of Miami, a rock-star college lifestyle and a lucrative NFL paycheque for nine seasons.

But it did so at a price.

Romberg willingly left football this off-season to work with former Hurricanes offensive linemates Joaquin Gonzalez and Toronto's Sherko Haji-Rasouli at a Miami tire distribution company. But the 32-year-old native of Windsor, Ont., is convinced the years of 'bangin' ' have left him with a degree of brain trauma.

"There's no doubt in my mind," Romberg told The Canadian Press via telephone from Miami recently. "Honest to God, I can't remember so many things.

"Game scenarios? Don't remember them. I have few memories of high school or playing junior football for AKO Fratmen (in Windsor), my memory is foggy about stuff like that. Times in college, games we went to, bowl games . . . I don't even remember.''

And that includes how Miami systematically dispatched Nebraska 37-14 in the 2002 Rose Bowl to capture the U.S. college football title.

"All I remember about the Rose Bowl is walking off the field with a Canadian flag stuck in my shoulder pads," Romberg said. "For Christ sake, my whole family went out for that game and I don't remember being with them, nothing.

"So there's no doubt in my mind there is some damage. I can't pinpoint it, obviously.''

Lawsuits from thousands of former NFL players have been filed south of the border this year against the league accusing it of hiding information linking football-related head trauma to permanent brain injuries.

Romberg has experienced more than just memory loss.

"Yeah, I go through states of depression too,'' he said. "I don't know whether that's common and everybody goes through it or is it something that is related to football?

"I have no clue. There has to be something going on. Regardless of how many concussions you've had, I think that does have an impact on your head with all that bangin'.''

Surprisingly, that's what Romberg misses most about being out of football.

"It's drudgery when you're playing and it's tough to go out in full gear Wednesday and have to hit after a Sunday when you got the crap kicked out of you," he said. "As much as you hated it, though, you definitely liked to get that feeling when you're popping somebody in the mouth because there's really nothing like it.
"The locker-room comradery is also something you can't find in corporate America. I got involved in this (with Gonzalez and Haji-Rasouli) because it's probably the closest thing I can get to a locker-room without getting a sexual assault charge or some kind of HR problem.''

Romberg was among Atlanta's last cuts last year but rejoined the club shortly afterwards and completed his second season there. While convinced he can still play — he said he has fielded offers from several clubs — Romberg felt it was time to get on with life after football.

"My wife ended up staying in Miami and working last year and it was tough having her fly every weekend to wherever we were at to see me for a few hours, then go back about her business here,'' Romberg said. "It was crazy.

"I also ended up missing my brother's wedding in Windsor and had to have the Falcons film crew do like a nice film that they ended up playing at the reception.''
The challenge of a new career — running the Canadian division of Tire Group International — and being able to settle into a new house with his wife, Emily — a corporate real estate lawyer in Miami — with plans to start a family soon made it easy for Romberg to turn his back on the almost US$1 million he'd earn this season as a 10-year NFL veteran.

"Yeah, it's a lot of money but I just realized after taxes and everything, $500,000 isn't worth disrupting what I have going on now for maybe a year and burning any bridges I might have in the business world,'' Romberg said. "And then there's possibly scrambling my eggs worse than they are, blowing a knee out and being in a cast and going through rehab and never having the same feeling in my appendages.

"And then, obviously the older you get the more painkillers you have to take and the more and more you rely on the pills and drugs to kind of get you through the week as opposed to your body the way it felt when you were a lot younger.

"A half-million bucks isn't going to change the way I'm living. I'm going to be 33 years old and if you had told me 10 years ago that I'd be playing in the NFL until I was 32 I would've kissed you.''

After a stellar tenure at Miami, Romberg signed as an undrafted free agent with the Jacksonville Jaguars, spending time on the practice roster before being promoted to the active roster.

Romberg remained with the Jaguars until 2006 before joining the St. Louis Rams and playing there until 2009 when he signed with Atlanta. Overall, he appeared in 44 NFL games, starting 18.

In college, Romberg helped Miami reach two NCAA title games, winning one, and also received the Rimington Trophy as the NCAA's top centre. He was a finalist for the Outland Trophy, given annually to the top lineman, and was named a consensus first team all-American in 2002.

He started his final 37 college games and never surrendered a sack. Off the field, Romberg was a larger-than-life figure for his punchy anecdotes to reporters, gregarious personality and willingness to do just about anything once, including pinching opponents' bottoms during games.

Prior to Ohio State's 31-24 double overtime Fiesta Bowl win over Miami in the NCAA title game Jan. 3, 2003, Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN The Magazine called Romberg "the best Canadian import since a case of Labatt's Blue.''

Teammates weren't immune, either, as Romberg earned a well deserved reputation of being a practical joker.

"Oh yeah, I had a lot of fun but life is so much bigger than football," Romberg said. "Life in the NFL is phenomenal, it's a great life and I wouldn't have changed it for the world.

"But it's a fairytale, an absolute fairytale. The reality check you get when you're done is a little bit different.''

Two years ago while with Atlanta, Romberg remembers experiencing a reality check in Tampa while out for dinner with the other offensive linemen.
"We're playing credit card roulette for a $1,500-$2,000 meal and it's no big deal,'' Romberg said. "I'm sitting there looking at the young waiter serving us who couldn't have been more than three or four years younger than me and this guy is making a living doing what he needs to do in order to survive.

"Now, we're not necessarily lucky because we did sacrifice a lot to get to where we were but I put my knife and fork down and was like, 'Do you guys realize that: How does what we do change anybody's life? You have doctors who save people's lives, you have policemen, firemen and military people who are putting their lives on the line for us and we're playing a game, we're getting paid more than any of those people and getting paid and we're not really doing anything more than giving that guy who works 40-50 hours a week something to watch Sunday.'

"It's a Catch-22 in my eyes.''

There's plenty the six-foot-three, 260-pound Romberg — down roughly 40 pounds from his playing weight — doesn't miss about football, like training camp and the physical toll it takes on one's body.

"I might be 32 but I don't have an average 32-year-old's body," Romberg said with a chuckle. "I've got problems with my shoulders, my back and my ankles.''
But all that pales in comparison to Romberg's disdain for the politics of the game.

"These GMs have to justify their (draft) picks," Romberg said. "Be that by giving a free-agent guy one or two reps in a pre-season game but giving a third-rounder a couple of quarters because they have to find a way to make it a reality that this guy has to be on the team because he was drafted.

"And it happens more than the public knows. Hell, half the centres that were drafted in my year were gone after the second year. It's a numbers game and you look good on paper and that's what brings you in the door and then your draft year keeps you there for a year or two depending on how high you were. After that you kind of become a lost commodity.''

Romberg admits the business side of the game has drastically diminished his love for it.

"I think it probably gutted it the moment I got into the NFL," Romberg said. "There's no doubt in my mind the business aspect of football just tears at the fun because it's no longer a game.

"It's actually your job, it puts food on your plate and young guys don't realize that until their third or fourth year when they start getting cut because they can get a younger guy who's a little bit cheaper and you have to do something pretty productive or pretty special that the young kid can't do.

"Luckily I always had a good offensive line coach for the majority of my career. My big slogan by the time I was in my sixth year was, 'You're only as good as your coach wants you to be.' ''

However, Romberg remains very appreciative of the opportunities football has afforded him.

"It's definitely a blessing,'' he said. "The doors the NFL has opened for me, the friends I have now in the music business and in Hollywood is all stuff a kid from Windsor would never, ever get an opportunity to do outside the fairytale of being in the spotlight and is very special.

"It's been a relatively smooth transition being able to basically end it on my terms and not because of a devastating injury. And with my job I've been to Canada more in the last five months than I have the last five years and it's good to see my family more often.

"I know I could still play and do what many of those guys are doing Sunday. But the question is: Does my body want to do it and do I really want to do it anymore? I have that opportunity in my life to do something with my mind rather than my body and possibly get my family started and settle down. That's more of a priority.''

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UM Sports Hall of Fame Dolphin Tournament

Several former Hurricanes football players, including Brett Romberg, Bubba Franks, Gary Dunn, Damione Lewis, Jeremy Shockey and Daniel Stubbs, are slated to fish in the second annual University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame Celebrity Dolphin Tournament June 30 in Islamorada.

Hosted by Warren Sapp, the event provides anglers with the opportunity to fish alongside former UM sports stars while raising money for the UM Sports Hall of Fame, Shake-a-Leg Miami and Habitat for Humanity of the Upper Keys.

Visit, send e-mail to or call K.C. Jones at 305-925-3660.

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All Canes Radio With Brett Romberg & KC Jones

Every Thursday Night joins All Canes Radio to bring the latest news on not only current Hurricane football but also proCane news and exclusive interviews with current and former proCanes live from the All Canes Store in Coral Gables. Click here to listen to this week’s show and hear our exclusive interview with proCanes Brett Romberg and KC Jones and listen to as they talk about their NFL playing days, days at The U and much more. It is truly a MUST LISTEN.

Also, click here to check out more information on the 2nd Annual UM Sports Hall of Fame Celebrity Dolphin Tournament. BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!

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Brett Romberg Suing the NFL

The National Football League Management Council and the Atlanta Falcons are suing the National Football League Players Association and several former players who filed workers' comp claims in California.

The suit seeks "confirmation of an arbitration award that certain NFL players cease and desist from the pursuit of workers' compensation benefits in the state of California," the suit says.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Atlanta, says Georgia is the exclusive jurisdiction for Falcon players who file claims. The recent arbitration ruling ordered the players to withdraw their California workers' comp claims and file in Georgia. The players named in the suit are Roderick Coleman, Wilrey Fontenot, Tony Gilbert, Kindal Moorehead, Stanley Pritchett, Karon Riley, Brett Romberg, Jason Webster, and Dez White. Players from outside California have filed in that state due to a legal loophole. Several states have taken action to prevent such claims.

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PHOTOS: University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame Celebrity Bowling Tournament

On February 27th the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame hosted its 1st Annual Celebrity Bowling Tournament at Splitsville in South Miami featuring former Miami Hurricanes and many proCanes including: Reggie Wayne, Brett Romberg, Duane Starks, Bubba Franks, Gino Torretta, Earl Little and many more! Each bowler had at least one former Miami Hurricane athlete on their team and not only got to interact with the former players but also got to take part in a Silent Auction full of Hurricane Memorabilia. It was a great time had by all who participated and if you missed out this year, make sure to sign up for next year's event! Check out the photos below: 

Reggie Wayne, Duane Starks
Brett Romberg
Daniel “Bubba” Franks
Darrin Smith, Gerard Loisel, Reggie Wayne
Gino Torretta
KC Jones
Randall “Thrill” Hill
Darrin Smith and Son
Click here to see more photos ----->>>>