Former linebacker DeMeco Ryans filed a lawsuit against the NFL and Houston Texans, seeking more than $10 million in damages because an Achilles tendon injury he suffered due to the playing surface at NRG Stadium in 2014 effectively ended his NFL career.
The lawsuit, filed Friday in Harris County (Texas) District Court, also names Harris County Convention Sports Corp., SMG, which manages NRG Stadium, and StrathAyr Turf Systems as defendants.
The lawsuit states that because of the playing surface at NRG Stadium on Nov. 2, 2014, Ryans suffered a torn Achilles tendon that "prematurely ended his noteworthy NFL career" as without the injury he would have "in reasonable probability, remained in the league for another five years."
The Texans told ESPN they would not comment on current litigation.
Ryans was placed on injured reserve in 2014 following his injury, which happened on a noncontact play. He played 14 games for the Eagles in 2015 but wasn't as effective following his injury and was released by the team last February and went unsigned as a free agent.
At the time of Ryans' injury, the Texans were playing on a grass field where "modules" of grass created by StrathAyr Turf Systems were grown outside the stadium and then placed by forklift onto the playing surface. The Texans switched to AstroTurf in Week 3 last season and are playing on artificial turf again this season.
The lawsuit states that, on Nov. 2, 2014, "there were points where the seams between the Modules intersected appeared to look like holes filled in with sand. The surface of the field was also inconsistent as some of the Modules were soft, some were firm and the Modules did not fit together well."
The lawsuit cites widespread complaints by NFL players about the playing surface at NRG Field and significant noncontact injuries caused by the field that should have prompted the Texans to change the playing surface before the Nov. 2, 2014, game.
Then-New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker suffered a knee injury in January 2010, but because he played for the opposition, "the Texans management and owners did not really care," the lawsuit states.
Then-Texans punter Brett Hartmann suffered a knee injury in 2011 that ended his career, but the lawsuit states that "to the Texans, Brett Harmann 'was just a punter,' " and because he had not been in the league for long, "the Texans and the NFL didn't really care about what happened to him."
The lawsuit says that it wasn't until Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, taken by the team with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft, suffered a knee injury in his first NFL game that limited him to four games in his rookie season, that the team cared about the situation. Then-teammate D.J. Swearinger told NFL media at the time that Clowney told him he was injured after he landed on a "hole" in the turf.
"Then, and only then, was it time for Defendants to fix the problem," the lawsuit states.
Contacted by ESPN, the Texans said they do not comment on pending litigation. ProFootballTalk.com, which first reported on the lawsuit, reported the NFL had no comment when contacted about the case.
Ryans, a second-round pick by Houston in 2006, spent six seasons with the Texans before he was traded to the Eagles in 2012. He was selected for the Pro Bowl twice.
ESPN's Sarah Barshop contributed to this report.