Report: Sayers to drop concussion suit
Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers said he will drop the concussion lawsuit filed against the NFL on Friday, calling it “a big misunderstanding,” the Chicago Tribune reported Saturday.
The suit stated that Sayers, who played for the Chicago Bears from 1965-71, suffered headaches and short-term memory loss after retirement. It also alleged that sometimes he was sent back into games after suffering concussions and that the NFL didn’t protect him from the “devastating concussive head traumas.”
Sayers, whose seven-year career ended prematurely in 1971 because of severe knee injuries, retracted those claims Saturday.
"I had about one half of a concussion in all of the years that I played," Sayers told the Tribune. "I didn't say any of the things he said in the paper."
Attorney John F. Winters said that Sayers reached out to him Tuesday to request the lawsuit filing but then decided to have it voluntarily withdrawn Saturday.
Sayers' wife, Ardie, said that Winters mailed the paperwork that they received Friday, but her husband did not sign any of the documents. Winters confirmed that the paperwork was not signed.
"I didn't sign anything. … I talked to the attorney, but there wasn't nothing to it," Sayers said.
The NFL agreed in August to a $765 million settlement to diagnose and compensate potentially thousands of retired players who develop dementia or other brain injuries they blame on the violent, bone-crunching collisions that pro football has long celebrated in its highlight reels.
More than 4,500 former athletes -- some suffering from dementia, depression or Alzheimer's that they blamed on blows to the head -- have sued the NFL since the first case was filed in Philadelphia in 2011. They accused the league of concealing the long-term dangers of concussions and rushing injured players back onto the field, while glorifying and profiting from the game's violence.
The settlement would cover all 18,000 former NFL players with the vast majority of it used to compensate athletes with certain neurological ailments. It would also set aside $75 million for medical exams and $10 million for medical research.
The Associated Press contributed to this report