Joe DeLamielleure, the Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive lineman, plans to object to the proposed NFL concussion settlement.
“I’m going to tell everyone I know to object,” said DeLamielleure, who played for the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns from 1973 to 1985, in a recent interview with The Times.
The information packet mailed to each retired player that includes a 24-page summary of the proposed settlement didn’t assuage DeLamielleure’s concerns. Neither did an August meeting, in Canton, Ohio, before the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions, with attorneys who negotiated the settlement.
A longtime critic of the NFL and NFL Players Assn., DeLamielleure doesn’t believe many of the estimated 20,000 retired players will receive monetary awards from the proposed settlement. He is also frustrated by a variety of other issues in the settlement that were granted preliminary approval by a federal judge in July, including retired players’ having to pay $1,000 to appeal an awards decision. The money would be refunded if they win.
Retired players have until Oct. 14 to object or opt out of the settlement. If enough retired players object, DeLamielleure believes they can unravel the settlement.
“It’s going to take 4,000 to 5,000 guys to object or opt out,” he said. “But I bet there’s not even 4,000 or 5,000 guys who know this is going on.”
On Wednesday, an attorney for the family of the late San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau announced they would bypass a potential $4-million award and opt out of the settlement to continue wrongful-death litigation against the NFL on their own.
Others are waiting to make a decision on their participation until they know the outcome of next week’s hearing in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia, where seven retired players asked the court to intervene in the proposed settlement.
“Any objection threatens to delay approval of this settlement and endanger its guaranteed benefits for retired players who are in desperate need,” plaintiffs’ co-counsel Christopher Seeger said in a statement. “We look forward to finalizing this agreement so that former NFL players can soon begin taking advantage of its benefits.”
A fairness hearing is scheduled for Nov. 19 in Philadelphia in front of U.S. District Judge Anita Brody.
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