In the summer of 2011, the Detroit Lions released linebacker Zack Follett, who proceeded to walk away from the game of football. Follett suffered a season-ending neck injury in the 2010 season, and it came as no surprise that his career was over considering the severity of the injury.
Now, nearly two years later, the Lions and Follett are involved in a dispute over workers' compensation, according to the Free Press' Dave Birkett. Follett filed the claim last year in California, and the Lions responded by filing a non-injury grievance because the claim wasn't filed in Michigan, which apparently was required as per his contract.
As Birkett noted, California recognizes "cumulative trauma" injuries, and Follett has been dealing with "severe pain" in his neck and shoulders, according to his lawyer. With the Lions, Follett dealt with various injuries, and he is hoping to have his future medical care covered locally.
"That’s really what we’re heading for," Keeling said. "That’s why I took the case and that’s what Zack wants. And we don’t want to go all the way to Michigan to get it. He wants to be able to go to a local doctor. If they signed a stipulation today, we’d take it."
Follett, who currently owns an organic coffee shop in Clovis, Calif., sounds pretty upset over how this has been handled by the Lions, at least based on what his lawyer said.
"His theory is that he gave 110% to the Lions, and they turned their back on him. He feels a little bit betrayed."
Tom Brady and Drew Brees recently co-authored a column opposing a proposed change to California's workers' compensation rules for professional athletes, so I'm sure plenty of people will be keeping an eye on what happens between Follett and the Lions.