Butting Heads

NFL doles out $765 million in concussion lawsuit with retired players and Cowboys Hall of Famers

NFL doles out $765 million in concussion lawsuit with retired players

Dallas Cowboys hall of famer Tony Dorsett
Hall of Fame player Tony Dorsett took a lot of big hits for the Cowboys.  fanpop.com
Roger Goodell
Roger Goodell and the NFl have reached a massive settlement with former players in a concussion-related lawsuit.  Photo courtesy of NFL
Dallas Cowboys player Jimmy Smith
Former Dallas Cowboys player Jimmy Smith is among the players benefiting from the settlement. zimbio.com
Roger Staubach, helping heroes
Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach wanted no part of the concussion lawsuit, despite his extensive experience with knockout hits. Photo by Sylvia Elzafon
Dallas Cowboys hall of famer Tony Dorsett
Roger Goodell
Dallas Cowboys player Jimmy Smith
Roger Staubach, helping heroes

The National Football League has settled a concussion lawsuit with former players to the tune of $765 million, and 260 former Cowboys players stand to receive a slice of the money.

More than 4,500 former NFL players had sued the league for allegedly covering up the long-term effects of head trauma dating back to the 1950s. This settlement puts an end to the dispute for now as retired players will receive payment from a $675 million pot to provide for medical benefits and injury compensation.

According to the Washington Time’s Nathan Fenno’s database, this group included 260 former Cowboys players, with eight of those in the NFL Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame list includes players like Bob Lilly, Tony Dorsett, Randy White and Melvin Renfro. More modern-era players include Dat Nguyen, Roy Williams and Jimmy Smith. Notably absent from that list is Roger Staubach. The Hall of Fame Cowboys quarterback says concussions ended his career but that was a risk he accepted as an NFL player. 

"I don't think the NFL initially tried to hide the fact that you might have dementia one day because you've had a concussion," Staubach told USA Today Sports. "The players that are in the middle of the lawsuit, they feel differently. I just have stayed out of it because I don't think anyone intentionally tried to deceive me."

The $675 million will be paid out based on need with 50 percent coming in the first three years and the other 50 percent to be meted out during the 17 years after that.

The settlement also provides $75 million for retired players to receive baseline medical exams as well as a $10 million fund for research and education.

As part of the settlement, the NFL assumes no admission of liability. NFL executive vice president Jeffrey Pash praised the agreement in a statement. 

This agreement lets us help those who need it most and continue our work to make the game safer for current and future players. Commissioner Goodell and every owner gave the legal team the same direction: do the right thing for the game and for the men who played it. We thought it was critical to get more help to players and families who deserve it rather than spend many years and millions of dollars on litigation. This is an important step that builds on the significant changes we’ve made in recent years to make the game safer, and we will continue our work to better the long-term health and well-being of NFL players.