Atlanta Falcons worried about team’s ‘excessive’ use of painkillers in 2010, emails show

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank watches the team warm up prior to a game against Seattle on Jan. 14.
(Streeter Lecka / Getty Images)

A string of emails from 2010 that began with the trainer and reached all the way to Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank showed a franchise worried about an “excessive” reliance on painkillers to treat players.

The e-mails were read into the record in a proposed federal class-action lawsuit filed by ex-NFL players claiming they were encouraged to abuse dangerous drugs to continue playing without regard for their long-term health.

An email chain released in court shows Atlanta Falcons officials in 2010 were worried about the team’s “excessive” reliance on painkillers to treat players and the potential embarrassment that could cause.


The officials expressed concerned over a review that found the team spent $81,000 on prescriptions for medications for players in 2009 — nearly three times the league average.

Nearly every recipient on the email chain — from Blank, president Rich McKay and general manager Thomas Dimitroff to then-head athletic trainer Marty Lauzon — is still with the team, which plays New England in Super Bowl LI on Sunday.

The emails were entered into the court record Thursday as part of a proposed class-action lawsuit by former NFL players.


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