Limas Sweed is roundly regarded as the first ‘bust’ of the Mike Tomlin era for the Pittsburgh Steelers. A second-round draft pick in 2008, Tomlin’s second season, he would finish his professional career with seven receptions for 69 yards and a dropped touchdown pass.
Sweed lost out to 2009 third-round pick Mike Wallace for the number three wide receiver role that year behind Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes, a pair of Super Bowl MVPs. In December of that year, he was placed on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury/Illness List, citing “personal issues”, which reportedly included depression.
Yesterday, TMZ reported that Sweed is suing the NCAA for negligence, faulting the organization for the “depression, headaches, memory loss, mood swings, emotional instability, motor impairment, and more” that he deals with today as a 34-year-old man.
He accuses the NCAA for allowing himself and other players to be returned to the practice field or into games following “an inadequate amount of time” after having suffered a head injury. His lawsuit states that he “suffered from numerous concussions, as well as countless sub-concussive hits as part of routine practice and gameplay”.
I’m struggling to find much of any documented history of concussions for Sweed, but as we should certainly know by now, a lack of reported concussions means virtually nothing in terms of the number of concussions that have been experienced, especially when we’re talking about data from over a decade ago.
Sweed was a star wide receiver for the Texas Longhorns from 2004 to 2007, during which time he recorded 124 receptions for 1915 yards and 20 touchdowns. It was his junior season that put his name on the map, catching 46 passes for 801 yards and 12 scores. His senior season was limited due to a wrist injury that required surgery.
It wasn’t long before he was on the outside looking in with the Steelers, however. He never played another snap for the team after he went on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury/Illness List at the end of the 2009 season.
The Steelers drafted Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown in 2010 in addition to bringing back Antwaan Randle El in free agency. With Ward, Wallace, Sanders, Brown, and Randle El already in tow, Sweed was already in trouble, but he suffered a torn Achilles in the spring and was placed on the Reserve/Injury List. He would ultimately be Waived/Injured in August of 2011 following a shoulder injury.
The fact that he never made it in the NFL, however, says nothing about the legitimacy of his suit against the NCAA for his time spent there in the mid-2000s.