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Federal judge dismisses some but not all of Barrett Green’s lawsuit against Redskins, Robert Royal

Gregg Williams, right, with Sean Taylor, was defensive coordinator with the Redskins during Joe Gibbs’ second stint as head coach. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

A federal judge in Maryland declined to fully dismiss a lawsuit by former New York Giants linebacker Barrett Green accusing former Washington Redskins tight end Robert Royal of intentionally injuring Green’s knee during a 2004 game as part of a bounty program.

The Redskins and Royal sought for the lawsuit to be dismissed. U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte dismissed some of Green’s claims, including those based on negligence and malice, but did not dismiss other claims, including some based on battery and civil conspiracy.

Green alleges that he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in a December 2004 game on an illegal block by Royal aimed at Green’s knees. Green’s lawsuit says he suspected at the time that he might have been targeted and Royal’s hit was intended to injure him, but he only became aware of the possibility that the Redskins had a bounty program in place when that was reported in 2012.

The NFL punished the New Orleans Saints in 2012 after concluding that the team had a bounty program, by which players were rewarded for hits that injured opponents, under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Some members of the Redskins’ defense under Williams said at the time that the team also had a bounty program when Williams coached the club’s defense between the 2004 and 2007 seasons. Former Redskins safety Matt Bowen wrote in the Chicago Tribune that the Redskins had such a program under Williams. The Redskins were not punished by the NFL for bounties.

Royal played on the Redskins’ offense and was not coached directly by Williams.

The Redskins and Royal asked the court to dismiss Green’s lawsuit, arguing that Green’s claims were barred by the statute of limitations and by the labor agreement between the NFL and its players’ union. Messitte ruled that the statute of limitations does not necessitate the dismissal of those claims by Green that are tied to him becoming aware in 2012 of the possibility of a bounty program, and that a possible bounty program is not covered by the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. The Redskins have denied Green’s allegations.

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