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Former Steelers Najeh Davenport, Kevin Henry Sue NFL, Allege Racial Bias in Concussion Settlement

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Former Steelers running back Najeh Davenport and defensive end Kevin Henry filed a class-action lawsuit on Tuesday that alleges the NFL attempted to make it less likely black players would be fairly compensated under the settlement of its concussion lawsuit with former players.

Davenport, played with the Steelers from 2006-08 and also spent time with the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts in a seven-year NFL career. Henry spent eight seasons in Pittsburgh from 1993-2000 after being drafted in the fourth round out of Mississippi State and played in Super Bowl XXX with the team.

The lawsuit alleges that the NFL used separate criteria for judging mental degradation in black and white athletes, making it more likely for white players to receive benefits.

“The NFL’s administration of the settlement created a black door and a white door for benefits, in which former players with identical test scores get different treatment — solely on the basis of race,” Cy Smith, lead counsel for the players, said to the New York Times. “This approach was not required by the settlement and the NFL is fully aware of its discriminatory impact on Black players. The NFL has a choice to make: live up to its word and treat Black players like their lives matter, or continue pushing them aside.”

According to the Times, the NFL called the lawsuit “misguided” and pointed out that the process was vetted by a federal judge.

The NFL originally settled with its former players in 2013 and agreed to pay out over $750 million to players that suffer neurological conditions from playing professional football. The settlement has been regarded as controversial overall, and there have been several attempts from players to re-litigate portions of it.

The suit was filed in federal court in Philadelphia.

Steelers

Highlights from Steelers Practice 10/22/20

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Stephon Tuitt practices his footwork and Minkah Fitzpatrick works on his ball awareness as the Steelers defense prepares for their upcoming matchup with the Tennessee Titans.

Footage courtesy Pittsburgh Steelers

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Steelers

Highlights from Steelers Practice 10/21/20

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Steelers receiver Diontae Johnson returns to practice and joins star rookie Chase Claypool by running routes and catching passes on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. The Steelers hope to show off their dynamic offense at full strength during the team’s game this Sunday against Tennessee.

Footage courtesy Pittsburgh Steelers

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NFL

Le’Veon Bell Says He’s Never Played with an MVP-Caliber QB

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Kansas City running back Le’Veon Bell spoke with the media Wednesday for the first time since signing with the Chiefs and expressed excitement about the chance to play with quarterback Patrick Mahomes, but he may have taken a shot at his former teammate Ben Roethlisberger in the process.

“Patty Mahomes, I’ve never played with a player MVP-wise, so it’s gonna be fun,” Bell said. “I think it’s a lot of weapons, it’s gonna be fun for me.”

While Bell could just be propping up his new teammate, it does appear that the three-time Pro Bowler has already forgotten just how good he had it as a Pittsburgh Steeler.

Roethlisberger has never won an MVP award, but the future Hall of Famer did post MVP-caliber numbers over the five seasons they spent together in Pittsburgh.

From 2013 to 2017, Roethlisberger passed for 21,221 yards and 138 touchdowns, as the Steelers went a combined 48-24 when he was under center. Bell was a clear beneficiary of Roethlisberger’s production. Not only did he rush for 5,336 yards and 35 scores as a Steelers, but he also caught 312 passes for 2,660 yards and seven touchdowns.

Bell signed with Kansas City last week after being released by the New York Jets following a disappointing 17 games with the franchise. The two-time All-Pro rushed for just 863 yards and three touchdowns as a Jet. He had no rushes over 19 yards while playing under head coach Adam Gase, and did not post a single 100-yard rushing performance in New York.

Pittsburgh selected Bell in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, but the two sides were unable to agree to a long-term extension following a productive five years. Bell sat out the entirety of the 2018 season before signing a free agent contract with New York. He is fourth in Steelers history with 5,335 rushing yards and 35 rushing touchdowns

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