Brian Urlacher believes some former players claim to have CTE “just to be in the f–king lawsuit”

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Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher did great things as a player. Something he recently said does a great disservice to other men who played the game.

Urlacher, appearing on the Bussin’ With the Boys podcast, made a bold claim regarding the motivations of some former players who seek benefits for head trauma suffered during their playing careers.

“Here’s the problem now with all the guys with the CTE,” Urlacher said, via, “if they do have it, I feel for them, but there’s guys who say they have it just so they can be in the fucking lawsuit.”

It’s rare to see so few words contain so many flaws.

First, there is no “lawsuit.” No one is suing the league at this point. The class action was settled, years ago. The settlement makes all players who retired before final certification of the class eligible for potential benefits.

Second, there’s no way anyone can prove that they have CTE while they are still alive. It’s a condition that can be diagnosed only after a person dies. So if a guy says, as Urlacher claims, that he has CTE, the compensation will come only after he dies — and after an analysis of his brain confirms it.

Third, the settlement has created a specific process for assessing a range of real cognitive problems for which compensation is available. If impairment can be proven, the player gets compensation based on the type of condition, along with a specific formula that takes the length of the career into account.

Is it possible that some players could be overstating their health issues in an effort to qualify for compensation? Sure. But the procedures surely have been crafted to separate phony claims from real ones. To prevent, as Urlacher put it, guys who say they have issues “just so they can be in the fucking lawsuit.”

It’s odd that Urlacher would make broad, reckless comments that could undermine the efforts of players to get fair compensation, and that could influence fans and/or media to wonder whether some players are running a scam. How does it hurt Urlacher if other players believe they have cognitive impairment, and if they hope to recover the compensation to which they would be entitled if they do? The NFL already has agreed to fund, without limitation, any payments to those players who properly qualify. It’s not as if someone making a false or exaggerated claim will result in less money for Urlacher.

For years, the NFL actively downplayed the risks of head trauma. The lengths to which the league went to delay the reckoning were shameful. It was, in some respects, no different than tobacco executives claiming with a straight race that nicotine isn’t addictive. Eventually, as it always does, the reckoning arrived for the league.

Faced with a massive lawsuit that potentially would have forced the NFL to allow full exploration of what it knew, when it knew it, and how it went about covering it all up, the league agreed to a settlement with very simple terms. If a player has a qualifying condition, he gets benefits — no questions asked. He doesn’t have to prove he got the condition from football. He doesn’t have to prove that he wouldn’t have kept playing football even if the NFL had fully disclosed all the risks. He just needs to show that he has a qualifying condition, at any point in his life.

Why would Urlacher feel compelled to complain about former players thinking that maybe they’re entitled to their fair share of the compensation the NFL agreed to make available in order to, among other things, escape opening its files? Again, it doesn’t affect Urlacher at all.

So, to anyone out there who sees or hears what Urlacher said, ignore it. The men who played the game in  the years before the NFL took steps to protect them or, at a minimum, to properly explain the risks have the absolute right to seek compensation for any potentially qualifying conditions. As part of that right, they’re also allowed to try, and perhaps fail, to get what they have earned through a lifetime of sacrificing their bodies and brains for the game.

Most importantly, they’re entitled not to be shamed for doing so — even by former players who are also eligible to seek such benefits.

45 responses to “Brian Urlacher believes some former players claim to have CTE “just to be in the f–king lawsuit”

  1. He let himself become a puppet for politicians so that his brother could get a pardon, so nothing he will ever say or do again will ever clean off the stain he’s covered in

  2. Urlacher’s stupid comments suggests he may have suffered significant head trauma.

  3. I’ve just lost a lot of respect for Brian Urlacher. This is one of those times when I have to separate the player from the person.

  4. Maybe Brain is making this outlandish statement as part of his bid to prove he has CTE. It does show some of the signs.

  5. Brian Urlacher doesn’t seem realize CTE and tarumatic brain injury excluded from claims in the concussion settlement.

    Great player but spewing nonsense is unhelpful. He should apologize for his ignorance.

  6. As a lifelong Packer fan, there have always been certain Bears players that even though they were “certified Packer killers” they were so good at their jobs and played the game so much the right way that I respected them greatly. Walter Payton, Mike Singletary, Robbie Gould, and Brian Urlacher are just a few that come quickly to mind.

    Then Urlacher retired and started talking. Not real often but man, it seems like every time he opens his mouth he should have just kept it closed. I still respect his play but that’s about it at this point.

    Urlacher and Favre should get together and start their own podcast. They could call it something brilliant like “Unmuzzled Untelligence.”

  7. Some of these guys would do a lot better if they just kept their mouths shut after their playing days are done.

  8. I’m a (what’s commonly referred to as) Post 9/11 veteran. When PTSD became a more broadly claimed disability, and Veterans Affairs more readily compensated veterans for it, there was an influx of veterans requesting compensation. I heard statements akin to Urlacher’s: that basically guys (and ladies) are just trying to be unduly compensated for something. Sure, it happens, but you undermine the vast majority of those who suffer REAL invisible injuries when you make broad and baseless claims like this. Just like you can’t send kids into combat and expect them all to come back a-ok, you can’t expect some of the world’s best athletes to hurl themselves at each other, full speed and think that most will walk away unscathed.

  9. I agree with Urlacher 100%. Former players are not geniuses and cannot manage their money during or after their career. CTE is an opportunity for them to get money for their family, after death of course.
    The PLAYERS knew that CTE is a risk if they played football in HS, college, or pro, they accepted the risk in exchange for fame and fortune. I feel no pity for them since they have had a quality of life that few will ever have.

  10. Perhaps Urlacher is saying this because he does, in fact, have CTE and its the lack of cognitive function that is speaking…

  11. urlacher hasn’t exactly distinguished himself in the post-football phase of his life….
    not sure if its a need to be back in the news or what.

  12. Mike I totally agree. Urlacher made much more money than players from past generations and should be thankful. He needs to keep his nose out of other players health and financial situations.

  13. Maybe he has CTE and don’t know it…maybe Jerome Bettis gave it to him

  14. Fascinating to see the sports media, which makes all of its money and future money from sports, and in this case, the NFL, work so hard to create drama to bring it all down.

  15. As a Bears fan……wow……Brian’s life these days just seems to be bitter. Maybe check into that, Brian…..perhaps you need to get in on that ‘lawsuit’.

  16. His specific comments may be off the mark. But in a broader sense any players falsely claiming injuries to get money they do not deserve should indeed be shamed. What if there is no money remaining to give to the truly injured? I think it is fair to interpret his comments in this broader way.

  17. Some are are delusional if they think insurance fraud does not exist. Of course there’s CTE fraud.

  18. One of the biggest problems today is people who think that beliefs are facts. Unless he actually knows guys who are faking symptoms then his comments are just a display of his own ignorance.

  19. Urlacher has loony brain, he should be tested for CTE himself. To a Bears fan like myself, he’s becoming more and more embarrassing after retirement.

  20. Maybe he’s the one with head trauma, for saying such stupid things. Loved the man on the field. Since, not so much.

  21. Dr Urlacher. Guess he has to be careful about the diagnosis since the money comes out of his pocket. Sounds like he’d be a great Joe Rogan regular

  22. The thing most of you are missing is that while there is no doubt that 99% of NFL players will have CTE, there are undoubtably countless players that are joining the suit with 0 symptoms or any warning signs. Everyone wants something for nothing, these days.

  23. Urlacher is the ultimate meathead. He espouses multiple regressive opinions, all of which are incorrect.

  24. dryzzt23 says:
    July 13, 2022 at 7:28 am
    I agree with Urlacher 100%….The PLAYERS knew that CTE is a risk if they played football in HS, college, or pro, they accepted the risk in exchange for fame and fortune. I feel no pity for them since they have had a quality of life that few will ever have.

    How exactly were any players supposed to be aware of the risk when the NFL hid the knowledge regarding CTE for decades?

    How much quality of life does a person with a traumatic brain injury have?

  25. And yet they’re are players denying they have CTE…. Like the one in his mirror.

  26. Thank you for this informative article. I actually didn’t know many of those facts about the CTE settlement. Urlacher, however, should know better. We all know someone who says garbage like that; Makes a big splashy statement that sounds almost like a legit grievance and then you find out it’s all hogwash. Someone just ask Brian to name names. Just who does Urlacher think is gaming the CTE settlement? Oh, no one specifically? Yeah, I thought so.

  27. I’m with Urlacher. There’s money available so of course people are going to lie and exaggerate to get a piece of it.

    It’s a choice for these guys to either be accountable for their own place in life or get a victim label, money, attention, and an excuse for any cognitive and personality problems that they’ll now pretend haven’t always been there.

    All the victim classes are so watered down with false claims and exaggerations that they’ve made most people numb to all that crap.

  28. Proof positive that fame or athletic prowess doesn’t necessarily mean the person is intelligent — their fame just makes them think they are.

  29. One of my favorite players on my favorite team during his playing days. Since retirement.. not so much

  30. Even after the facts are laid out.. still so many people just default to the notion that “everyone is out to get free money”. These guys play a sport that turns your brain to mush. You have to have your brain examined after you die in order to get the money. No one is going to get anything if they don’t have CTE, and even then only the surviving family members get paid. It has NOTHING to do with people being greedy.

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