Zack Follett was a reckless special-teams player during his short NFL career with the Detroit Lions. A neck injury suffered from a helmet-to-helmet collision ended his season early in 2010 and, ultimately, his career. Less than a year later, he was released when a comeback attempt failed.
Now, Follett, who is 26, out of football and owns an organic coffee shop in his hometown of Clovis, Calif., will be goingto court to try to resolve a worker's compensation dispute with the club.
The Detroit Free Press reported that a settlement conference has been scheduled for next week in a California court on a claim filed last year by Follett against the NFL club and its insurance carrier, Liberty Mutual.
According to court documents reviewed by the Free Press, Follett's contract required that this type of claim needed to be filed in Michigan. Follett made the claim where he's living, in California, which has more liberal worker's comp laws.
Follett's attorney, Roy Keeling, said his client is seeking future medical coverage to cover any health problems from his football injuries, which include continuing pain in his neck, shoulders, feet, knees and a finger.
Keeling said Follett, a seventh-round draft pick in 2009, doesn't want to have to go back to Michigan for treatment.
"He wants to be able to go to a local doctor," Keeling told the Free Press. "His theory is that he gave 110 percent to the Lions and they turned their back on him. He feels a little bit betrayed."
Follett, a fan favorite in Detroit as a player,appeared in a total of 17 games over two seasons, including two starts at linebacker in 2010.
The Lions declined to comment on the case.