Add Junior Seau's family to the thousands of people who are suing the NFL over the long-term damage caused by concussions.
Seau's ex-wife and four children sued the league Wednesday, saying the former linebacker's suicide was the result of brain disease caused by violent hits he sustained while playing football.
The wrongful death lawsuit, filed in California Superior Court in San Diego, blames the NFL for its "acts or omissions" that hid the dangers of repetitive blows to the head. It says Seau developed chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) from those hits, and accuses the NFL of deliberately ignoring and concealing evidence of the risks associated with traumatic brain injuries.
Seau died at age 43 of a self-inflicted gunshot in May. He was diagnosed with CTE, based on posthumous tests, earlier this month.
An Associated Press review in November found that more than 3,800 players have sued the NFL over head injuries in at least 175 cases as the concussion issue has gained attention in recent years. The total number of plaintiffs is 6,000 when spouses, relatives and other representatives are included.
Scores of the concussion lawsuits have been brought together before U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody in Philadelphia.
"Our attorneys will review it and respond to the claims appropriately through the court," the NFL said in a statement Wednesday.
Helmet manufacturer Riddell Inc., also is a defendant, with the Seau family saying Riddell was "negligent in their design, testing, assembly, manufacture, marketing, and engineering of the helmets" used by NFL players. The suit says the helmets were unreasonably dangerous and unsafe.
Pro Bowl players vow to play harder
The NFC team ended its first Pro Bowl practice by breaking the huddle and shouting, "Win." One night earlier, Denver quarterback Peyton Manning asked his fellow all-stars to play the game hard.
And players on both sides pledged Wednesday to play more determined in a game with a reputation of being taken less seriously than preseason exhibitions or meaningless Week 17 contests.
"We're professional football players. I think you take a professional attitude to the game," said Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck, one of two rookie passers in the game along with Seattle's Russell Wilson. "It is an obligation of ours to continue this game."
The future of the game to be held Sunday in Hawaii is uncertain. The contest was almost not scheduled at all this year after players faced blowback from commissioner Roger Goodell and fans for clearly not trying last year.
That's made the 2013 Pro Bowl something of an audition. A league executive said Tuesday the NFL wants to decide on the future of the Pro Bowl by April, when the next regular season schedule comes out.
Around the league
49ers • Running back Frank Gore was fined $10,500 by the NFL on Wednesday after he wore his socks too low in Sunday's NFC championship game at Atlanta, an equipment violation.
Raiders • Oakland hired Tony Sparano as an assistant head coach who will work with the offensive line. Sparano was fired after one season as offensive coordinator of the Jets.
Super Bowl XLVII
P 49ers vs. Ravens at New Orleans, Feb. 3, 4 p.m.
TV • Ch. 2