Lawyer in NFL concussion deal says an appeal would be 'selfish'

Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:38am EDT
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By Steve Ginsburg

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A major architect of the landmark concussion settlement reached with the National Football League on behalf of 20,000 retired players said on Thursday it would be "selfish" for anyone to appeal the deal.

Christopher Seeger, co-lead counsel for the retired NFL players, said if even one of the players involved in the settlement filed an appeal, benefits would probably be held up a year. An appeal would have to come from one or more of the around 200 players who filed objections to final approval.

U.S. District Judge Anita Brody on Wednesday approved the settlement of a lawsuit brought by the former players who accused the NFL of keeping secret the dangers of concussions.

However, the family of one prominent former NFL player has already signaled it will appeal the ruling on the grounds it excludes certain key brain injuries.

Seeger said appeals were unlikely to succeed because Brody, who has worked on the case since 2013 and twice sent it back to lawyers to be reworked, gave the deal the green light.

"Appeals, in my view, are just wasting the time of people who are very sick, like Kevin Turner," Seeger said of the former NFL fullback who suffers from ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.

"For a small group of guys to hold up the 99 percent that have accepted the deal, well, it would just be selfish."

Still, Thomas Demetrio, an attorney for the family of former Chicago Bears Pro Bowler Dave Duerson who killed himself in 2011 and was found to have suffered a brain disease blamed on repeated concussions, told NBC Chicago the family would appeal.   Continued...