NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement

Article 44
Injury Grievance

Section 3


The Club to which an Injury Grievance has been presented will answer in writing within ten (10) days. If the answer contains a denial of the claim, the general grounds for such denial will be set forth. The answer may raise any special defense, including but not limited to the following:


That the player did not pass the physical examination administered by the Club physician at the beginning of the preseason training camp for the year in question. This defense will not be available if: (i) the Player was injured during offseason workouts at the club facility under the direction of a club official prior to not passing the physical examination or (ii) the player participated in any team drills following his physical examination or in any preseason or regular season game; provided, however, that the Club physician may require the player to undergo certain exercises or activities, not team drills, to determine whether the player will pass the physical examination;


That the player failed to make full and complete disclosure of his known physical or mental condition when questioned during a physical examination by the Club;


That the player’s injury occurred prior to the physical examination and the player knowingly executed a waiver or release prior to the physical examination or his commencement of practice for the season in question which specifically pertained to such prior injury;


That the player’s injury arose solely from a non-football-related cause subsequent to the physical examination;


That subsequent to the physical examination the player suffered no new football-related injury;


That subsequent to the physical examination the player suffered no football-related aggravation of a prior injury reducing his physical capacity below the level existing at the time of his physical examination as contemporaneously recorded by the Club physician.


The Club or the Management Council must advise the grievant and the NFLPA in writing no later than seven (7) days before the hearing of any special defense to be raised at the hearing. Failure to provide such notice will preclude the Club and Management Council from arguing that defense. However, where the Club and Management Council learn of facts supporting a special defense fewer than seven days prior to the hearing, during the hearing or in a post-hearing deposition, the Club and the Management Council must present notice of that special defense to the arbitrator and opposing party within seven (7) days of when the facts supporting that defense became known or reasonably should have become known to the Club and/or Management Council. An assertion at the hearing, or subsequent to the hearing, of a newly-discovered special defense will enable either party to present additional testimony, including the opportunity to recall witnesses or call new witnesses.