Browns, Bentley reach settlement on lawsuit
Former Pro Bowl center LeCharles Bentley has settled his lawsuit against the Cleveland Browns, the team he signed with before sustaining a career-ending knee injury that was complicated by a staph infection.
Bentley agreed to an out-of-court settlement after meeting with Browns owner Randy Lerner. Browns spokesman Neal Gulkis confirmed Wednesday that the sides have reached a confidential agreement.
Bentley sued the Browns in July 2010, claiming the team convinced him to rehab his knee at their training complex without telling him about other players who had contracted staph infections there.
Bentley released a statement saying he was relieved to have the matter resolved.
''These last six years have been the most trying time of my life, but now that it is over I can honestly say I am a better man for having gone through it,'' he said. ''Randy Lerner and I - two men born and raised in Cleveland - were able to sit down face-to-face back in June and come to an agreement that was fair.''
Bentley, who previously played for New Orleans, signed a six-year, $36 million free agent contract with the club in 2006. It was a homecoming for the former Ohio State star and standout from Cleveland's Saint Ignatius High. However, Bentley never played a single down for the Browns after tearing up his left knee on the first full-contact play of training camp.
He then attracted the staph infection while doing his rehabilitation. Bentley said his infection became so severe that doctors considered amputating his leg.
The Browns had several players contract staph from 2003-08. The team has had no known cases in the past few years.
Former wide receiver Joe Jurevicius also sued the Browns over a staph infection and reached an undisclosed settlement in 2010.