Former two time NY Giants Superbowl winning kicker Lawrence Tynes is likely to miss the entire 2013 Football season due to an MRSA infection in his toe. Tynes hints that the infection was contracted at 1 Buc Place, the training facility of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs have subsequently released Tynes but will pay him his full salary, thought to be just under $1 million
In a scathing Tweet, Tynes wife Amanda released the information that her husband had been cut by the Bucs via email due to a "NFI" a Non Football Injury. Adding that (she) "Wouldn't expect anything more from such a classy organization, #blkout".
Her tweet was not received well by Bucs fans, who lambasted her on twitter for hours afterwards.
Meanwhile, Tynes himself gave an interview to Fox Sports in which he questioned the decision by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to put him on the non football injury list. Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports speculates that this decision was the Bucs way of saying that there was no proof that the MSRA infection was contracted at their facility.
The main reason for Tynes displeasure at the decision is that by putting him on the NFI list, it denies him other benefits he believes he is entitled to. Tynes told Fox Sports in an interview on Saturday that he has the full backing of the NFL Players Association and that a grievance is being prepared to try to force the Bucs to change his designation to "Injured Reserve". A player on injured reserve is entitled to his salary for as long as he is a registered player for the team, and a full season is also counted towards his pension.
In the Fox Sports interview, Tynes suggested that other teams had acted differently in the past in similar situations and added "If I drop a 45-pound plate on my foot while lifting weights in the weight room at the facility, it's IR. So I just don't understand how my situation is any different. I went to work, I kicked, I practiced, I cold-tubbed, I hot-tubbed, I showered for all those days there. I come up with MRSA and it's a non-football injury? They're basically trying to exonerate themselves of this, and I'm not going to allow it to happen."
The Bucs would not comment to Fox Sports on the story, but it has been reported that they have scrubbed and disinfected their facility a few times since Tynes and guard Carl Nicks were diagnosed with MSRA. Bucs trainer Todd Toriscelli is also thought to have contracted the MSRA infection. Although he did not reveal the full details of how the infection was contracted, Tynes did say that those infected "feel very strongly about where it came from". He is currently on multiple antibiotics and the infection does not appear to have penetrated the bone at this time. There is a real danger of the need for amputation if the infection does spread to the bones of the toe.
If the Bucs do change Tynes designation, it would be tantamount to admitting culpability for the infection, which could open them up to litigation. However, by paying Tynes his salary when they are not obliged to do so, it could look like they are trying to head off any further action by Tynes.
For his part, Tynes is angry that the Bucs are not stepping up to the plate and accepting responsibility and were just "sugar coating it with the salary". He added in the Fox Sports interview "That was their PR cover-up: 'At least you're getting paid.' "That's not the point. It's wrong"