Fewer than 200 NFL retirees opt out of proposed concussion settlement

About 140 retired players filed objections to the proposed NFL concussion settlement.
(Rick Osentoski / Associated Press)

Just 196 of the estimated 20,000 retired NFL players opted out of the proposed settlement to concussion litigation with the league, according to papers filed in federal court Monday.

Players had until Oct. 14 to opt out, but can revoke the moves up until the settlement receives final approval.

“With over 99% participation, it is clear the retired player community resoundingly supports this settlement,” the plaintiffs’ co-lead counsel, Christopher Seeger and Sol Weiss, said in a statement. The settlement would cover all retirees regardless of whether they filed suit.


Nine Pro Football Hall of Famers are among the players choosing to continue litigation against the NFL on their own, including former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett, Washington Redskins running back John Riggins and Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Willie Lanier.

The family of San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau rejected the deal as well.

Also opting out is Vernon Maxwell, the lead plaintiff in the first concussion lawsuit against the NFL, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court in July 2011.

Around 140 retired players filed objections to the proposed settlement last month.

Actuaries for the NFL and retired players estimate that 3,600 players would be compensated over the settlement’s 65 years, and 2,300 more would be eligible for monetary awards but wouldn’t participate.

Though the overall deal doesn’t have a monetary cap, individual awards do. Maximum payouts range from $5 million for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis to $1.5 million for Level 1.5 dementia. The average amounts are projected to be significantly less, however, when deductions for years of NFL experience, age at diagnosis and other factors are included.

A fairness hearing on the settlement is scheduled for Nov. 19 in front of U.S. District Judge Anita Brody in Philadelphia.