Retired NFL players accuse league of issuing illegal painkillers in federal lawsuit
'Cleveland Browns vs New York Jets' [Shutterstock]

Eight retired players sued the National Football League on Tuesday over medications they say were obtained illegally and given as painkillers to numb injuries without regard for future health concerns.

The lawsuit, filed in a San Francisco federal court, alleges the NFL put profits ahead of player safety in giving players drugs without prescriptions and without warning about side effects or other potential risks such as addiction.

"We believe it's a significant case that will eventually help players and future players in future situations like this," Andrew Slutkin, a partner in the Baltimore law firm that investigated the claims, told the Baltimore Sun.

The attorneys want the case to become a class action lawsuit and that could open the door for more than 500 other players to join the case.

The lawsuit comes after the league settled a lawsuit by former players involving concussions last year for $765 million, although that settlement agreement has yet to be approved over judge's concerns the amount might not be enough.

[Image: "Cleveland Browns vs New York Jets," by Debby Wong via]