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Aaron Patrick sues NFL, Chargers, ESPN for knee injury in out-of-bounds collision

The Broncos’ outside linebacker collided with ESPN’s “green hat” after knocking DeAndre Carter out of bounds on a punt return. Patrick suffered a torn ACL in the collision.

DENVER BRONCOS VS LOS ANGELES CHARGERS, NFL Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Outside linebacker Aaron Patrick tore his ACL during overtime of the Monday Night Football game against the Chargers in a freak play that happened on punt coverage after the play ended on the sidelines.

DeAndre Carter had just received the ball on a punt and was running out of bounds near the 10-yard line. Patrick caught up just as Carter was going out of bounds and cut under the receiver to run past.

Patrick collided with the “Green Hat” — a term for the network liaison that monitors TV timeouts - before both tumbled onto the ground.

The knee injury knocked Patrick out of the remaining moments of the game, and a follow-up MRI revealed the torn ligaments.

Now Patrick is suing a host of organizations for creating the situation that led to his injury.

In the lawsuit filed Tuesday in California Superior Court against the NFL, Chargers, Rams ownership group and ESPN, the second-year linebacker claims he collided with an improperly positioned TV liaison just before pushing Carter out of bounds. The suit claims that Patrick’s momentum carried him off the field, where he stepped awkwardly on mats placed to cover wires for the TV replay system before tumbling into the TV liaison.

The suit seeks an unspecified amount for money lost due to missing the rest of the season plus compensation for the lost opportunity to earn bonuses and cover medical expenses, plus damages for his pain and suffering.

Patrick’s attorney, William Berman, noted in the press release that the NFL is a billion-dollar enterprise that should be more interested in player safety than it is demonstrating.

“Player safety should be the foremost of importance to the NFL and its owners,” Berman said. “As for Patrick’s injuries, Sofi Stadium should have the state-of-the-art equipment to protect for player safety, and not use the type of $100 mats that you would expect to see in a restaurant kitchen.”

Former Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush won a similar lawsuit in 2018 after he slipped on a concrete slab while running out of bounds on a punt return at Edwards Jones Dome in St. Louis in 2015.

The fall caused a tear in his left meniscus, and the Niners running back missed the remainder of the season. A jury awarded Bush a $12.45 million settlement against the St. Louis Rams.

Player safety is an on-going issue between the league, owners and the players. Aaron Rodgers voiced his displeasure over conditions of field with synthetic turf and scoffed that anything would change. Though he would like the NFL to switch to all grass surfaces.

“I don’t have a lot of confidence when it comes to the league making that decision without some sort of big vote and gripes from certain owners who don’t want to spend the money,” Rodgers said, adding that the NFL “would be putting your money where your mouth is if player safety is important.”

Broncos’ kicker Brandon McManus noted in a tweet that the NFL will change its turf stadiums to grass when the FIFA World Cup comes to the United States in 2026 - but won’t do it now for its own players.