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McDuffie: Miami Lied About Injury

April 7, 2002

LAUDERHILL, Fla. (AP) _ Former Miami Dolphins receiver O.J. McDuffie says the team lied to him about the severity of a toe injury that has hobbled him the past three seasons.

McDuffie, released by the Dolphins partly for salary cap reasons in February after nine years with the team, contends the injury worsened when he continued to play with it in 1999. He says an MRI exam showed the injury was serious, but the Dolphins told him the exam was inconclusive.

``They give me another (MRI). They say, ’It’s not as bad as we thought it was,‴ McDuffie said. ``I’ve talked to a lot of experts now, and they say the first MRI was as clear as it gets.″

McDuffie’s comments were reported by the Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale and The Palm Beach Post.

``We would never do anything that would jeopardize the health of any of our players,″ Dolphins spokesman Harvey Greene said Sunday.

Greene declined to comment on the specifics of McDuffie’s allegations.

Despite the injury to his left big toe, McDuffie played in two playoff games in 1999 with the aid of painkilling injections.

``I’m a competitor,″ he said. ``If I can play I’m going to play. They tell me I can play, I’m not going to sit back. I’m going to take one for the team in terms of going out there. I know I’m going to be hurt, but I didn’t know I’d be ending my career by doing it.″

Because of the injury, McDuffie played in just nine games in 2000 and was unable to play last season. He’s the fourth-leading receiver in Dolphins history.

McDuffie said he probably will retire. He also plans to sue the Dolphins for the way his injury was handled.

``Everybody knows I got a bum deal,″ he said. ``I could still be playing. ... It’s not right. I’m trying to make sure they don’t do it to anybody else.″

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