Freddie Mitchell, who plead guilty to tax fraud in March, is claiming that concussions sustained during his NFL career caused the illegal activity.

Mitchell, 34, cheated the U.S. government out of millions of dollars in the elaborate fraud scheme, which could see him sentenced to as much as 10 years in prison. At his sentencing hearing on Friday, Mitchell pleaded with the court to show leniency, even blaming his decisions on the head trauma he suffered during his brief NFL career, according to

Mitchell played just four seasons (2001-2004) with the Philadelphia Eagles before being forced to end his NFL career, but he claims that he suffered multiple concussions during that time. He added that he doesn’t sleep much due to painful headaches and that he has trouble with his memory. His girlfriend Patricia Jarmoc backed up that notion, adding that he can lose track of his thoughts in conversations.

Mitchell’s role in the scheme was to recruit athletes to a tax-return service run by associates Jamie and Richard Walls. The fraudulent scheme was revealed when NBA forward Drew Gooden linked on with Mitchell and the Walls to file his tax returns. Gooden was unaware of the scheme, though, and miscommunication with the Walls led to him filing his own return. The Internal Revenue Service eventually discovered the real return, which led to the discovery about Mitchell and the Walls.

Mitchell’s lawyers are seeking the sentence be reduced to probation and community service rather than the former receiver serving any jail time. The final sentencing hearing is scheduled for Tuesday Oct. 29.

Thumbnail Photo via Twitter/@6ABC