Former Bronco Bill Romanowski may be the first NFL player to be held liable in court for assaulting a fellow team member. Last weeek, a Washington State jury found Romanowski must pay Marcus Williams $340,000 for assaulting him during a team practice. The jury rejected Williams' request for punitive damages as well as his claim of emotional distress, finding that Romanowski did not act with malice . Williams said Romanowski punched him in the eye and broke his left eye socket, ending his football career at age 27. Romanowski said Williams was seeking too much money for his injury. After a six week trial, the jury found that Romanowski engaged in an unprovoked act of violence that went beyond the scope of his football employement. Williams wanted to argue that Romanowski's actions were the result of steroid use and amounted to typical "roid rage," but the Judge wouldn't allow it because Williams couldn't prove Romanowski had taken steroids on the day of the attack. You can read the court documents here [Via Courthouse News Service .)
Veteran Denver attorney Jeffrey Springer of Springer and Steinberg represented Romanowski. Williams was represented by San Francisco lawyer James Brosnahan, whom you may remember from his representation of John Walker Lindh, the so-called "American Taliban." After the verdict, Springer said that Romanowski would have written a check to Williams for $340,000 "in a heartbeat" but that Williams refused to settle for anything short of millions of dollars. Romanowski went from the Broncos to the Raiders, but the Raiders released him last March when he could not pass a physical. During his trial testimony, Romanowski said he soon will be publishing his memoirs, "Romo: My Jekyll and Hyde Life.''