(CN) – Former New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper is not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for his career-ending knee injury, a Louisiana appeals court ruled.
The Oct. 22 came as Sharper, who turned 39 on Monday, hit his nine-month mark in a Los Angeles jail on charges that he drugged and raped two women there. A motion by California to set Sharper’s bail at $10 million bail includes a declaration from a prosecutor noting his belief that Sharper “is involved in seven acts of rape … [that] occurred in Los Angeles, California; Tempe, Arizona; Las Vegas, Nevada, and New Orleans, Louisiana.”
Sharper had played for the Green Bay Packers for eight years and the Minnesota Vikings for four years before joining the Saints in 2009.
Before hurting his left knee on Nov. 8 that year, Sharper racked up nine interceptions as a Saint for the third time in his career.
After Sharper aggravated the knee injury in December, the team doctor recommended ice, physical therapy and drainage. Sharper got a second opinion and a prescription for injected pain medication in time for playoffs, however, from renowned sports doctor James Andrews.
After continuing with the Saints through the playoff and a Super Bowl victory, Sharper signed an exit physical form confirming that he had no injuries that would prevent him from continuing his career.
The Saints resigned Sharper, now a free agent, for the 2010 season despite the fact that he was still rehabilitating his knee. Sharper testified that his knee swelled during a game in October, and that he also hurt his hamstring later in the season.
The defensive back also said that he hurt his knee again on Jan. 8, 2011, but did not report it to the team’s medical staff. He again signed the exit physical stating that he had no injuries that would curtail his career.
Sharper retired in November 2011 after no NFL team had signed him, even after trying out for the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots. He and Dr. Andrews agreed that he was physically able to play football at that time.
The Office of Workers’ Compensation denied Sharper’s claim, and a three-judge panel of the Louisiana’s 4th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed on Oct. 22.
Sharper failed to show that the Saints paid his salary instead of workers’ compensation, with the court noting that Sharper filed his claim more than a year after his last reported injury.
“Despite the fact that there were games in which he did not play, he attended practices, participated in meetings, attended games and participated in necessary rehabilitation, all of which is considered work under the terms of his contract for which he was paid his full salary,” Judge Daniel Dysart wrote for the court. “Therefore, Sharper’s argument that his salary was a payment in lieu of workers’ compensation, rather than earned wages, cannot stand.”
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