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Former Cleveland Browns receiver Joe Jurevicius sues team, doctors, Cleveland Clinic over staph infection

Former Browns receiver Joe Jurevicius, who returned to Cleveland in 2006 to try to help his beloved Browns win a Super Bowl, is suing the team, the Cleveland Clinic and two team physicians over a staph infection that most likely has ended his NFL career.

The suit, filed Friday in Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, states that Jurevicius contracted a staph infection in his right knee because the Browns did not sterilize their Berea training facility properly and that the medical personnel, including the Clinic doctors, failed to warn him they weren't taking proper precautions.

Browns attorney Fred Nance told The Plain Dealer in a statement the Browns "deny the allegations and will vigorously defend against them." The Clinic, through spokesperson Erinne Dyer, declined to comment on pending litigation.

Jurevicius, who sat out all last season because of the staph infection, underwent routine arthroscopic surgery on the knee Jan. 7, 2008, and spent about a week-and-a-half rehabilitating at the Browns' facility. On Jan. 21, after experiencing swelling in the knee, severe shaking and chills, he was diagnosed with staph.

Since then, Jurevicius has undergone six medical procedures on the knee to eradicate the infection and repair the damage. The Browns released him March¤12 despite the fact he offered to take a pay cut to remain with the team. He's currently out of football.

Jurevicius, 34, is the first of six known Browns players diagnosed with staph infections since 2003 to file a lawsuit. One of those, former Browns tight end Kellen Winslow, contracted staph twice, once in 2005 and once last season. Another, Cleveland native and St. Ignatius product LeCharles Bentley, has been out of football since suffering his potentially limb- and life-threatening infection in 2006.

A source close to the situation said two other Browns staffers, not players, contracted staph within the past year.

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