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NFL reaches $765 million settlement in concussion lawsuit

Roger Goodell AP

In a dramatic development staving off what could have been years of costly litigation, the NFL has settled lawsuits brought by 4,500 former players over brain injuries suffered on the field.

Former U.S. District Judge Layn Phillips, the court-appointed mediator, announced that the NFL and NFL Properties will contribute $765 million to provide medical benefits and injury compensation for retired NFL players, fund medical and safety research, and cover litigation expenses. The settlement still must be approved by U.S. District Judge Anita Brody.

“This is a historic agreement, one that will make sure that former NFL players who need and deserve compensation will receive it, and that will promote safety for players at all levels of football,” Judge Phillips said in a statement. “Rather than litigate literally thousands of complex individual claims over many years, the parties have reached an agreement that, if approved, will provide relief and support where it is needed at a time when it is most needed. I am deeply grateful to Judge Brody for appointing me as mediator and offering me the opportunity to work on such an important and interesting matter.”

Although $765 million is an enormous sum of money, it’s also a sum of money that the NFL, which rakes in billions each year, can afford. Some of the most dire predictions said concussion litigation could bankrupt the league, but this is a settlement that the NFL can handle. The biggest question going forward may be whether the NFL can make changes to the game to keep players safe from brain injuries in the future.

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60 Responses to “NFL reaches $765 million settlement in concussion lawsuit”
  1. thekiy says: Aug 29, 2013 12:46 PM

    $170,000 per player. A very fair settlement.

  2. reesesteel23 says: Aug 29, 2013 12:46 PM

    Damn!

  3. stevent92 says: Aug 29, 2013 12:46 PM

    Good. Now can we get rid of ridiculous penalties and fines?

  4. honkeyt says: Aug 29, 2013 12:46 PM

    Can we have our game back now?

  5. bmorepositive123 says: Aug 29, 2013 12:49 PM

    This isn’t going to be the last article on the topic, I’m sure.

  6. baltimoresnativeson says: Aug 29, 2013 12:50 PM

    Now do we all understand the reason for the rule changes? Money.

    Show me a problem, and I’ll show you a rich man at the root of it.

  7. lrical says: Aug 29, 2013 12:51 PM

    Respect that decision. Hopefully the players can get the help they need

  8. vicnocal says: Aug 29, 2013 12:51 PM

    “Now, about that 18-game regular season…” – Roger Goodell

  9. bucrightoff says: Aug 29, 2013 12:52 PM

    Change the rules back please?

  10. jmac1013 says: Aug 29, 2013 12:52 PM

    This sucks. I know it’s cheaper to settle than to litigate, but once I’d like to see someone stand up to the frivolous lawsuits.

  11. oakfolk says: Aug 29, 2013 12:53 PM

    $765 million? NFL pockets are deeeeeeeeeeep!

  12. giorgiom3 says: Aug 29, 2013 12:53 PM

    What happens to the players currently signed who retire in a few years and then sue? Can’t there be an agreement in place where, should you sign this contract, you take all risks assumed and the NFL is not liable for injury-related issues 40 years from now?

  13. floratiotime says: Aug 29, 2013 12:53 PM

    Free money boys, free money.

  14. brutus9448 says: Aug 29, 2013 12:53 PM

    flag football here we come

  15. patrickmichaud says: Aug 29, 2013 12:54 PM

    I get brain damage watching some of these teams play and the players do interviews…. Can I get a cut!

  16. babyjebus says: Aug 29, 2013 12:55 PM

    Pharmaceutical companies think that a $765 million settlement is cute, a cost of doing business, and a win for the NFL.

  17. icdogg says: Aug 29, 2013 12:56 PM

    What percent goes to the lawyers?

  18. 12444uggg says: Aug 29, 2013 12:58 PM

    That’s all, I figured the NFL owed a gazillion times infinity

  19. mavajo says: Aug 29, 2013 12:58 PM

    For all the people that have been complaining that the NFL is turning the game into flag football – this is why. 765 million reasons why.

  20. bolts0621 says: Aug 29, 2013 12:58 PM

    …more like $75,000 per player…some addl benefits, and millions for the attorneys.

  21. ctiggs says: Aug 29, 2013 12:58 PM

    now make every player sign a waiver that they will not come back and sue the NFL

  22. steelerben says: Aug 29, 2013 12:59 PM

    This means we are going to start getting back tackle football. Hooray!

  23. alltee says: Aug 29, 2013 1:00 PM

    great news!! now make every nfl player sign a waiver which we already know they will gladly do, and allow the players to play like the sport was intended

  24. mavajo says: Aug 29, 2013 1:00 PM

    “$170,000 per player. A very fair settlement.”

    Lol, not even close. The attorney’s will be keep a nice portion of that settlement. If I recall correctly, there were numerous different attorney’s involved in this thing. If half of it goes to the players, they’d be doing good.

  25. southernpatriots says: Aug 29, 2013 1:01 PM

    That will help those who are suffering from ” “head injuries” and the widows and children of those who are no longer with us.

    Helping those in the future at all levels of football would necessitate better equipment, especially better shock absorption inside the helmets which has been available for over 20 years, and also rules enforced to protect “head shots” to any player.

  26. ingraven says: Aug 29, 2013 1:02 PM

    Football was GREAT back in the day, but the best time recently was back when Sean Taylor was playing. He would lay some guys out and watching his NFL highlights, you didnt see any little yellow flags when he laid somebody out.

  27. grogansheroes says: Aug 29, 2013 1:02 PM

    I think the league got off easy. We’ll see if the judge thinks so too.

  28. justintuckrule says: Aug 29, 2013 1:03 PM

    Hey NFL slurpers….why oh why did the NFL settle for such a huge sum if the lawsuits were garbage? I’ll wait….

  29. dscol715 says: Aug 29, 2013 1:03 PM

    Get a life people. There are former players killing themselves and getting ALS and you are all upset that your favorite team gets a 15 yard penalty every once in a while. If you can’t enjoy football unless people are trying to inflict brain damage on each other you should reevaluate your priorities in life.

  30. robt2013 says: Aug 29, 2013 1:04 PM

    Can’t imagine how much a stadium beer will cost now!?!?

  31. hobiecat1 says: Aug 29, 2013 1:04 PM

    With that kind of money..The plaintiffs can almost afford to buy their own NFL team..

  32. vincelombardisghost says: Aug 29, 2013 1:05 PM

    $170,000 per player. That’s it? Not enough.

  33. jwcarlson says: Aug 29, 2013 1:06 PM

    As of 5PM today, 90% of those suing will have spent the money they would be getting from this. Or getting “pay day loans” to bridge the gap.

  34. thelastpieceofcheese says: Aug 29, 2013 1:07 PM

    And Garo Yepremian gets a share of this loot?

  35. jazsrt says: Aug 29, 2013 1:07 PM

    Direct TV pays the NFL $1 Billion annually for the rights to broadcast every game.

    This is chump change to the NFL.

  36. daysend564 says: Aug 29, 2013 1:07 PM

    $170k per player…after lawyer fees, $70k per player

  37. keeppounding says: Aug 29, 2013 1:08 PM

    Now that this is over can we change back to real football where you can tackle and have to be tough.

  38. commonsensedude says: Aug 29, 2013 1:08 PM

    Today was a very good day for Attorney Jackie Chiles.

  39. surfinbird1 says: Aug 29, 2013 1:09 PM

    There will be a lot more flags & fines starting this year to cover this $$ loss for the NFL.

  40. newlydead says: Aug 29, 2013 1:20 PM

    @giorgiom3

    “What happens to the players currently signed who retire in a few years and then sue? Can’t there be an agreement in place where, should you sign this contract, you take all risks assumed and the NFL is not liable for injury-related issues 40 years from now?”

    I don’t think the issue was as much that the players received concussions as it was they felt they were lied to about the severity and long term affects of the concussions. I don’t think current players will have as easy a time suing the NFL once retired due to the changes that were put in place, including rule changes, education, equipment, etc.

  41. baddegg says: Aug 29, 2013 1:20 PM

    Lifetime costs of severe brain injury can be $3 million or more. NFL got off lucky.

  42. silverhornet says: Aug 29, 2013 1:21 PM

    Surely, DeMaurice Smith has an opinion on this?

  43. pats3rings says: Aug 29, 2013 1:21 PM

    Huge win for the NFL………….. And for all the people who predicted this lawsuit would be the end of the NFL? Don’t you feel stupid now?

  44. @HowdyDoobie says: Aug 29, 2013 1:25 PM

    Former NFL player’s are such a small percentage of people. They should take care of their own with medical and counseling support. Like the military and the VA.

  45. historyisyourfriend says: Aug 29, 2013 1:27 PM

    As I thought all along, mostly a cash grab by former players who don’t get that NFL paycheck anymore. Realistically if they wanted to do it for all the right reasons the money would never have been the core of this issue. It would of been about making sure the game was safe for all future generations and putting a health care plan in place for retired football players.

    But no, NFL threw out a large chunk of money and everyone signed off on it. Cash grab plain and simple. Makes me wonder how many of those 4500 who signed on for this lawsuit would of done so if there was no cash involved. Pretty sure that 4500 would of dropped to about 450 in under 10 minutes.

  46. steelers6rings says: Aug 29, 2013 1:28 PM

    I’ll take a concussion for that amount.

  47. justintuckrule says: Aug 29, 2013 1:33 PM

    You know….if the NFL just told the players of the long term effects of concussions, they could go back to the old rules. The NHL is up front and honest about it and you don’t see penalties there every two seconds when someone gets hit in the head.

  48. bighurt228 says: Aug 29, 2013 1:53 PM

    Do these players forget the millions of dollars they make playing in the NFL?? No one forces any of them to play this violent sport. In my opinion, when a player signs a contract, he understands the money to be paid, and the risks involved. Most players have suffered an injury of some type before they even reach the NFL. Why should the NFL be liable to any of these players for future medicals, and or tests after their playing days. The players union should already have in place a retirement medical plan that they negotiated for. So now after making millions, these players have amnesia about the risks?? They want to sue ?? Ridiculous..!! Like I said, if they didn’t want to take the risk, go work in a supermarket. This frivolous lawsuit was settled, fine and dandy, but guess where the settlement money comes from?? That’s right …US as fans. Be ready to get raked over the coals for anything NFL. I for one will forgo the idea of going to a stadium to watch a game. I’m not going to be a sucker for the NFL.

  49. thefiesty1 says: Aug 29, 2013 2:02 PM

    A drop in the bucket. The owners won’t miss a billion over 17 years.

  50. ironmd778 says: Aug 29, 2013 2:12 PM

    NFL got off easy.

  51. abusementland says: Aug 29, 2013 2:16 PM

    Price of NFL merchandise just went up….

  52. millmannj says: Aug 29, 2013 2:20 PM

    For all the people saying that $170,000 per player is a great deal should watch the documentary “The United States of Football”. $170K is a drop in the bucket compared to the medical bills these retired players either already have, or will have going forward.

  53. nflpoker says: Aug 29, 2013 2:23 PM

    After all is said and done, the players won’t come close to getting $170,000 each. It’s a great day for the lawyers, unfortunately. The effect on the NFL won’t be that bad. The NFL makes billions every year and $765 mil is just a mosquito bite. Somehow, the NFL will probably be able to recoup part of that settlement later.

  54. colv says: Aug 29, 2013 2:43 PM

    In the end the FANS WILL PAY. The is not the end of this by any means.

  55. southernpatriots says: Aug 29, 2013 3:09 PM

    The old saying, “the devil’s in the details.” Very likely these costs will cost either the players in future collective bargaining or the fans in higher ticket prices, higher concessions (can they get any higher?), and other fees. The NFL will pass on this “new cost of doing business” to either the players or the fans or both.

  56. 302baller says: Aug 29, 2013 3:40 PM

    Players don’t deserve compensation. We learn as little kids this is a dangerous game. They continue for the fame and the money. When it’s all gone they want more.

  57. sportsdrenched says: Aug 29, 2013 3:45 PM

    “With that kind of money..The plaintiffs can almost afford to buy their own NFL team..”

    That wouldn’t even get you an MLB Franchise.

  58. patriottony says: Aug 29, 2013 4:35 PM

    uhmmmmm everybody here is forgetting the blood sucking lawyers get 1/3 or $255,000,000 of that….255 million,,thats like A-ROD money….

  59. 8man says: Aug 29, 2013 4:37 PM

    The league took the high road and the smart route here. This will never happen again. Players now know the risks and the league is administering it well. As a result, sucks to be a player if you get hurt. Don’t like it? Become an actuary.

  60. detroitcityy says: Aug 29, 2013 4:59 PM

    When people enter then NFL they should know there is risk with it and this stuff will happen, I’m not saying they don’t deserve the settlement just something to think about

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