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Duriel Harris says Shula never threatened to cut him over painkillers

A day after announcement of a new painkiller related lawsuit being filed against the NFL, more details indicate questionable use of Don Shula in the lawsuit.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday, a lawsuit was filed in Baltimore alleging illegal use of painkillers by all 32 NFL franchises, uses that included forcing players to take painkilling shots, keeping the impacts and side-effects of those shots from the players, and using the players' names to fill prescriptions without the players' knowledge. Included in the lawsuit were several coaches who were said to have threatened to cut a player if he did not take the painkiller and get back on the field. For Miami Dolphins fans, and much of the NFL as a whole, the biggest name included in those allegations is the winningest coach in NFL history, Hall of Famer Don Shula.

There is a problem with that allegation however. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 13 former players, one of whom, wide receiver Duriel Harris, played for the Dolphins. And, he said Shula never made that threat.

Asked by the Miami Herald's Dave Hyde if Shula had ever threatened to cut him if he did not take a painkiller and get back on the field, Harris replied, "No, he didn't."

Harris did say that the way the team offered the painkillers was "a threat in that the way it's presented to you, you just can't say no. They didn't come out and say (take it or get cut), but you do what they say to do. If they say jump, you say, 'how high?'"

According to a Shula family spokesman, who also spoke to Hyde, Shula never threatened a player, and always conferred with medical personnel, adhering to their advice.

The lawsuit may continue to move forward, though a similar one on behalf of 1,300 former players was recently dismissed in California, but the inclusion of Shula has to be questioned when the only former Dolphins player involved in the lawsuit states Shula never made the threat. Using Shula's name garnered attention for the lawsuit.  We will all have to wait to see where is goes from here.

(Side note: I recommend you read all of Hyde's article. He gives more details on how painkillers were used to get players into games, including Harris being shot up just before the game with an ankle injury and Bill Stanfill and Manny Fernandez going from a hospital bed to a game.)