ex-player seeks dam­ages for in­juries at prac­tice fa­cil­ity

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Danny Rob­bins

DAL­LAS — A for­mer Dal­las Cow­boys player who was in­side the team’s indoor prac­tice fa­cil­ity when it col­lapsed las t year con­tends the ac­ci­dent caused a ca­reer-end­ing in­jury and he wants un­spec­i­fied dam­ages f rom the builder and com­pa­nies op­er­ated by team owner Jerry Jones.

Tight end Ja­mar Hunt, who was on the Cow­boys’ ros­ter as a rookie free agent last spring, said in a court fil­ing that he suf­fered “se­ri­ous, dis­abling and per­ma­nent in­juries” when the tent­like struc­ture fell on May 2, 2009. Hunt was cut by the Cow­boys be­fore train­ing camp last year and has yet to catch on with an­other NFL team.

Hunt’s at­tor­ney, Michael Gua­jardo, said the player suf­fered a her­ni­ated disk in his neck when a steel sup­port landed on him. He said Hunt, who is also a deep snap­per, faces a “dou­ble-edged sword” be­cause he can’t be cleared to play with­out surgery, but hav­ing the surgery will brand him as a dam­aged com­mod­ity to NFL teams.

“You see NFL play­ers bounc­ing back from this (in­jury), but those are vet­eran play­ers with a his­tory of suc­cess,” Gua­jardo said. “With a rookie, teams are re­luc­tant to take a chance.”

Hunt, who played at Tex­asEl Paso, was among 27 play­ers par­tic­i­pat­ing in a rookie mini­camp in the 88,000-square-foot fa­cil­ity when it crum­pled in a wind storm. An in­quiry by the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Stan­dards and Technology con­cluded that the fa­cil­ity fell in winds of 55 mph to 65 mph — far less than the 90 mph wind speed spec­i­fied by en­gi­neer­ing stan­dards. The Cow­boys’ indoor prac­tice fa­cil­ity col­lapsed dur­ing a storm on May 2, 2009 while 27 rook­ies were par­tic­i­pat­ing in a mini­camp.

Matt Slocum

Ja­mar Hunt

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