Broncos LB Aaron Patrick sues NFL, Chargers, ESPN over season-ending ACL tear

Denver Broncos outside linebacker Aaron Patrick takes part in drills during the NFL football team's training camp Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, at the Broncos' headquarters in Centennial, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Aaron Patrick seeks compensation after tearing his ACL during and NFL game. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Aaron Patrick is seeking compensation after sustaining a season-ending ACL tear during an NFL game.

The Denver Broncos linebacker filed a lawsuit on Tuesday naming defendants including the NFL, ESPN and the Los Angeles Chargers, citing negligence that allegedly resulted in the injury. SoFi Stadium, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment and the Roe mat company are also among the several defendants listed in the lawsuit.

The injury took place during Denver's Oct. 17 road game against the Chargers. Patrick's momentum carried him out of bounds at the end of a play. He ran into a sideline worker then fell while stepping on a rubber mat.

He injured his left knee on the fall and was diagnosed with a season-ending ACL tear. His lawsuit blames the placement of the mat, among other items, as the reason for his injury.

"Upon stepping on one of the mats, (Patrick's) cleats became lodged in the mat and/or the cords/cables running underneath and caused (Patrick's) left knee to contort causing (Patrick) to fall awkwardly," the lawsuit reads. "As a result of the awkward fall, plaintiff (Patrick) suffered severe injury."

Patrick seeks compensation for lost salary and bonus opportunities and "significant pain and suffering and emotional distress." Per the suit, Patrick will lose out on $370,000 in base salary and $200,000-$400,000 in potential bonuses. Patrick signed a one-year, $660,000 contract with the Broncos, which limits his payout in the event he lands on injured reserve.

Patrick, 25, was in his second NFL season after signing with the Broncos as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2021. He played 12 games including one start as a rookie. He played in five games prior to his Week 6 injury this season. He has 11 total tackles in his 17 career games. As a borderline NFL player, a serious injury like an ACL tear puts his football career at risk.

Patrick's lawsuit isn't unprecedented. Former San Francisco 49ers running back Reggie Bush injured his knee when he fell on concrete at the Edwards Jones Dome during a 2015 game against the St. Louis Rams. He sued the Rams, and a jury awarded him $12.5 million in 2018.