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Ex-Bengal gets $92K over concussion
The longest-standing grievance between an NFL player and his team has been settled, with former Cincinnati Bengals tight end Ben Utecht being awarded the full remaining amount of his 2009 salary when an arbitrator ruled the team shouldn't have cleared Utecht to play after he suffered a severe concussion in training camp.
The NFL Players Association announced the decision, and Utecht's agent, Christopher Murray, told FOX Sports that Utecht will receive roughly $925,000.
Utecht, now a 32-year-old singer-songwriter, claims he's suffering from memory loss as the result of a concussion during a camp practice. The Bengals were featured that year on HBO's "Hard Knocks," and the hit that caused injury was broadcast. Utecht was placed on injured reserve and released with an injury settlement. He was in the second year of a three-year, $9 million contract he'd signed in 2008.
"It's just a huge blessing to work for an organization that I really believe cares about my health and well-being," Utecht said during the final episode of "Hard Knocks," per a synopsis of the episode written by USA Today.
Clearly, he only felt that way for so long.
The Bengals released Utecht in November of that season, claiming he was healthy. The arbitrator disagreed.
Utecht "had not been sufficiently tested, both in his aerobic and strength reconditioning program," the arbitrator wrote, per the NFLPA release, "nor had he been tested, both in sport specific activities which would be a more accurate means of determining whether the damage caused by the concussion had 'cleared.'"
Despite the litigation, Utecht said in a statement he will "continue to help the NFL in any way I can to educate people about brain safety and the seriousness of this issue."
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