Mercury Morris Sues NFL for Disability Benefits

July 21, 2005 ( - Former National Football League (NFL) running back Eugene "Mercury" Morris is suing the league for not paying disability benefits because of the numerous injuries he sustained while playing.

In a lawsuit filed in Miami federal court against the NFL pension plan, Morris claims he suffers from threatening and permanently debilitating injuries, according to a news report on the Web site. Morris, a former Miami Dolphin player, believes his eligibility for his NFL pension qualifies him for higher retirement benefits based on disability amounts.

The NFL disagrees, stating in court documents that in 1991 Morris released all of his past, present and future claims for disability benefits when he accepted a lump sum payment of $295,000.

Today, at age 58, Morris has several physical ailments — severe ligament and joint damage to his knee; wrist and finger damage; his right shoulder is smaller than his left due to nerve damage; bone fusion after cracking two vertebrae; and severe migraines.

“I’ve had this on the average of 120 to 145 days a year, so that really totally incapacitates me during that time. However, when I applied for my benefits they never considered that,” Morris told NBC6.

The former star’s normal NFL pension would be just $1,800 per month, but jumps to as much as $18,000 calculated at disability amounts.

His lawsuit alleges that of the 3,500 members in the Players’ Association, only 232 receive disability benefits, and of those, just 128 receive full disability benefits. The suit says the NFL pension plan is valued at almost $1.5 billion.