Chargers Want One-Third of Bonus Back

     (CN) – The San Diego Chargers sued a former linebacker to recover $416,666 an arbitrator said the team was owed after the player’s late-night altercation with an off-duty policeman. Steven Foley’s career ended in September 2006 after he was shot by an off-duty police officer who suspected him of driving under the influence.

     Local newspapers reported that Foley, a third-round pick in the 1998 NFL draft, initially ignored the officer’s requests that he pull over after he was seen weaving between lanes.
     When he did stop, according to the North County Times, of Escondido, Foley got out of his car and walked toward the officer’s vehicle.
     A police department spokesman said Foley was shot three times after he reached into his pants with his right hand, causing the officer to believe he was reaching for a gun.
     After surgery for injuries to his leg, arm and chest, the Chargers places Foley on injured reserve, triggering a default payment of a $1.25 million “signing, reporting and playing” bonus.
     But in the complaint in San Diego Federal Court, the Chargers and the NFL Management Council say Foley was contractually bound to repay one-third of the bonus if he breached the contract or couldn’t play. Foley couldn’t play after he was shot.
     The Chargers sent Foley a letter in February 2007 demanding he pay, and when he did not respond, the team filed a grievance with the players union, which rejected it, the complaint states.
     Arbitrator Michael Beck ruled against Foley in May this year, but Foley has not paid the team or filed a motion to vacate, modify or challenge the award. The statutory period for such a challenge has expired.
     The Chargers seek judgment against Foley for $416,666 plus interest.
     Several weeks after the shooting, Foley pleaded guilty to drunken driving and received 5 years probation. Foley, who was unarmed at the time of the shooting, later settled a civil lawsuit he filed against the City of Coronado for $5.5 million.
     The team and league’s management council are represented by Gary McLaughlin with Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld.

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