Though a federal judge granted final approval last month to the concussion deal between the NFL and about 20,000 retired players, the long-running saga isn’t finished.
Former player Craig Heimburger filed a notice Wednesday that he will appeal the settlement to the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.
That means the deal, which would compensate some players for a variety of conditions that include Alzheimer’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is on hold pending the appeal’s resolution.
Other retired players or their families are expected to appeal, as well.
Heimburger, who played 13 games for the Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers in 1999 and 2001, didn’t detail reasons for the appeal in the filing. But in a seven-page declaration filed in federal court last October, he described mental and physical difficulties in his post-football life.
“The most frustrating thing for me though is that because of my moodiness, lethargy, lack of motivation, headaches, chronic pain and anxiety, I feel as though I fail to be the husband, father or son that I should be,” Heimburger wrote.
An objection to the settlement filed along with the declaration said that Heimburger is “virtually certain” to suffer from the neurodegenerative disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
Players diagnosed with CTE after death following the date of last month’s final approval aren’t compensated for the illness under terms of the settlement.
The lead attorneys for the retired players in the case issued a statement that pilloried the decision to appeal.
“We are extremely disappointed and perplexed that an objector would … appeal the court’s final order even though this decision means thousands of retired NFL players suffering from devastating neurocognitive injuries and though concerned about their future will now be forced to wait many months for the immediate care and support they deserve,” the statement from co-lead counsel Christopher Seeger and Sol Weiss said.
While individual award amounts are capped, there is no cap to on the total settlement that applies to all retired players, regardless of whether they sued the NFL.
Experts for the NFL and retired players predicted about 6,000 players would be eligible for awards as part of the deal.