Hall of Fame football player and former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett is part of a suit accusing the league of fraud for its handling of concussions, and he also suffers from dementia. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine, File)
(Updated 5/26/2014) The NFL and attorneys for more than 4,500 former players who have filed suit over concussion-related medical problems reached a revised settlement on June 25 which removes the limit on how much compensation the league might eventually pay out.
The revised settlement came after a federal judge questioned whether there would be enough money to cover up to 20,000 retired players.
Last year, the league and the players’ attorneys announced a tentative $765 million settlement that included $675 million in a fund to compensate players with neurological symptoms, as well as additional money for research and education.
However, according to USA Today, U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody was unconvinced that the compensation fund would be adequately funded, and rejected the deal. The removal of the cap in the new settlement means a player would not see their claim go unpaid because a pre-set limit had been reached.
Former NFL player Kevin Turner, left, speaks during a news conference in Philadelphia. Turner, who played for the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots and is now battling ALS. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
“The most important change to this settlement is the monetary award fund is now uncapped, meaning payments from this fund will be guaranteed,” Christopher Seeger, co-lead attorney for the players, said in a teleconference.
Even with the cap removed, both sides said they believe the NFL will spend no more than about $675 million on damage claims by ex-players.
Former NFL football quarterback Jim McMahon speaks during a news conference Tuesday, June 17, 2014 in Chicago. McMahon spoke of his ongoing battle with dementia that he believe is related to his years of hits he took while playing in the league. (AP Photo/Stacy Thacker)
The new settlement, which will go back before Brody for preliminary approval, retains a payout formula for individual retirees that considers their age and illness. According to ESPN, a young retiree with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, would receive $5 million, a 50-year-old with Alzheimer’s disease would get $1.6 million, and an 80-year-old with early dementia would get $25,000.
“Today’s agreement reaffirms the NFL’s commitment to provide help to those retired players and their families who are in need, and to do so without the delay, expense and emotional cost associated with protracted litigation,” NFL Senior Vice President Anastasia Danias told ESPN.
One of the plaintiffs is Kevin Turner, who played for the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots and is now battling ALS. Other plaintiffs for this lawsuit include former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett, the Super Bowl-winning Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon and Hall of Fame Buffalo Bills lineman Joe DeLamielleure, as well as the relatives of deceased players including San Diego Chargers legend Junior Seau.