Former Oregon Ducks offensive line coach Steve Greatwood says Doug Brenner ‘would have had the opportunity’ to be in the NFL

EUGENE — Former Oregon Ducks offensive line coach Steve Greatwood compared the abilities and traits of former OU offensive lineman Doug Brenner to a number of his other former players who eventually made it into the NFL and believes Brenner “would have had the opportunity to do as a free agent in an NFL training camp” had it not been for the 2017 winter practices that took place. led Brenner to be hospitalized for rhabdomyolysis.

Greatwood, who worked at the OU from 1982 to 1994 and again from 2000 to 2016, testified in the civil lawsuit between Brenner and University of Oregon former football coach Willie Taggart, former strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde and NCAA at Lane County Circuit Court on Wednesday.

Testifying remotely via video feed from Germany, where he now coaches, Greatwood said Brenner’s height (6ft 2in) “may not have been optimal” for an NFL center, but this measurable alone would not have prevented it from being considered by pro franchisees. There are nine current NFL centers who are 6-foot-2 or shorter, according to The Football Database, many of whom reached the league as undrafted free agents.

“I think Doug had similar traits athletically and from an intelligence standpoint to several young men I’ve had the opportunity to coach who have succeeded in the NFL or are currently playing in the NFL. “, said Greatwood. “From a sporting point of view and from an intelligence point of view and also from a leadership point of view, which I think is very, very important.”

Asked about comparisons between Brenner and other players he coached, Greatwood cited former Cal offensive linemen Jake Curhan and Patrick Mekari, former Oregon offensive linemen Mark Asper, Fenuki Tupou, Darrion Weems and Geoff Schwartz and former UO defensive linemen Brandon Bair, Matt Toeaina and Ra’Shon Harris. Five of those players were drafted, all in the fifth through seventh round, and four were undrafted free agents.

Greatwood’s testimony during direct examination by Jason Kafoury, one of Brenner’s attorneys for Kafoury & McDougal and Eiva Law, was strongly challenged by Stephen English of Perkins Coie, who represents Taggart, Oderinde and UO, that Brenner is suing for $20 million for pain and suffering in part due to “impaired earning capacity and reduced opportunity to play football in college and beyond,” and $5.5 million for past and future medical expenses.

English objected six times, including three consecutive attempted questions regarding NFL scouts and how they would learn and assess Brenner’s medical history. Judge Clara Rigmaiden upheld four of English’s objections, but overturned the last, allowing Greatwood to determine whether, based on his training, experience and observations, whether Brenner was the kind of player who could make it to the NFL.

“Comparing Doug’s abilities and athleticism with former players that I’ve coached who were successful in the NFL or had the opportunity to be successful in the NFL, then yes, I think Doug would have had the “opportunity to do it at the very beginning. the least to do as a free agent in an NFL training camp,” said Greatwood, who went on to say that the fact that Brenner’s 2017 senior season has was cut short due to a hip injury,” was essentially the kiss of death when it came to his senior season and his draft prospects are gone.

During cross-examination, English tried to show Greatwood’s bias against his clients by asking him how he felt about being fired from the OU when the head coaching change happened. produced in December 2016, to which Greatwood said he was “as upset as anyone will be after 32 years”. years of coaching in one place. Greatwood also admitted he was upset that Taggart, who has yet to appear in court this week due to a previously scheduled obligation, did not even respond to a text message from him expressing interest in joining. the Taggart coaching staff to stay at UO.

Former Oregon Steelers and current Pittsburgh defensive lineman Henry Mondeaux, Brenner’s teammate at Jesuit High School and UO and college roommate, continued testimony Wednesday.

Mondeaux has corroborated much of what has already been testified regarding the details of the January 2017 training sessions conducted by Oderinde which led to the hospitalization of Brenner and two other players with rhabdomyolysis. Mondeaux said Oderinde was “less” competent compared to other strength and conditioning coaches he trained with during his college and NFL career.

Mondeaux also testified that the “dawn patrol” exercises that were briefly conducted during Taggart’s less than a year tenure at the UO were not limited to blame for academic doubts, saying he had to perform one of the sessions because he was “late to a team”. dinner.” After pushing a 45-pound plate 20 yards up and back on a soccer field, 20 times in 90-second intervals as required in the “dawn patrol,” Mondeaux said he was “seeing stars and throwing up.” These workouts are being considered in the case only for punitive damages against the NCAA.

Dr. Donald Nortman, a Harvard-trained nephrologist with more than 40 years of experience who is now affiliated with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, provided lengthy testimony about the kidney damage he believes that Brenner suffered following the January 2017 incident.

Nortman said the Brenner “has probably lost 40% of his kidney function” compared to before the January 2017 workouts, that his life could be shortened by 15 years due to acute kidney injury, and that he will have ” more likely than not” need dialysis and/or a kidney transplant later in life.

Nortman said there was “a very high probability” that Brenner began to suffer from rhabdomyolysis on the first day of practices and that he should not have been allowed to participate at all on the second day. Nortman also said Brenner “should have been admitted unequivocally” after his visit to the emergency room at PeaceHealth Medical Center on January 12, 2017, when he was initially discharged, and characterized the care Brenner received from doctors at the UO and the first emergency doctor that he was. treated by as “sub-optimal”.

On cross-examination, attorneys for the OU, Taggart and Oderinde as well as the NCAA took issue with certain aspects of Nortman’s characterizations of Brenner’s level of care at the time. David Fuad, one of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s NCAA attorneys, pointed out that Brenner’s body mass index had increased since the incident and that his medically defined obesity and pre-existing hypertension would also be factors in the current state of his kidneys. .

Brenner’s attorneys release their video deposition of NCAA vice president for enforcement Jon Duncan, who said college sports’ governing body does not initiate law enforcement investigations related to issues health and safety of athletes, including in the event of death, as this is outside their jurisdiction. Duncan said he was unaware of and had not heard of any desire from NCAA member schools to see the organization legislate and enforce regulations relating to player health and safety.

The day ended with objections from both teams of defense attorneys to the testimony of Hunter Hramika, a former South Florida soccer player, who recalled the summer 2016 workouts conducted by Oderinde while that he and Taggart were at USF which were similar to those that happened months later. after they arrived at the OU. Hramika, who appeared via video from Florida, said her urine was “dark brown” – a symptom of rhabdomyolysis – after those USF workouts. But that he did not see a doctor and was never diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis and when he told Oderinde he was told to see a sports trainer, Yuriy Chulskiy, who ordered him not to not participate in the next training session.

Greg Kafoury of Brenner’s legal team then read to the jury a series of text messages sent from Chulskiy to Taggart from July 12-15, 2015, informing the coach of the hospitalization of USF defensive back Deangelo Antoine suffering from rhabdomyolysis. .

UO, Taggart and Oderinde’s legal team opposes Hramika’s testimony on the basis of relevance and bias and asks that it be struck out and NCAA attorneys oppose due to lack of notice.

“They are trying to smear the University of Oregon and Coach Oderinde on the pretext that it has to do with punitive damages, when there is no notice at the NCAA,” said Will Stute, one of the NCAA attorneys.

Rigmaiden will decide on the matter on Thursday.

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