Compensation outline presented

McClatchy news servicesJanuary 7, 2014 

The NFL and lawyers representing thousands of former players in a $760 million settlement of concussion-related claims on Monday filed an extensive outline on how victims of head trauma would be compensated under the terms of their agreement.

The 85-page road map, which still must be approved by U.S. District Judge Anita Brody in Philadelphia, would offer as much as $5 million to each player who qualifies for top-level awards under a formula that would consider age, the number of seasons played, and whether injuries after retirement might have contributed to their cognitive disorders.

Maximum awards would go to players under 45 years of age who played five or more seasons and require extensive treatment over their lifetimes for conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

A player under 45 years of age who played more than five seasons in the league and now suffers from Alzheimer’s would receive $3.5 million.

An 80-year-old suffering from dementia would get $25,000. Others with mild symptoms of dementia may be eligible for medical treatment but no monetary payout.

Former players with no neurological damage would get baseline testing and could seek compensation if they developed concussion-related problems later in life.

“This is an extraordinary settlement for retired NFL players and their families — from those who suffer with severe neurocognitive illnesses today, to those who are currently healthy today but fear they may develop symptoms decades into the future,” said Christopher Seeger and Sol Weiss, the lead attorneys for the players, in a statement.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league “supports plaintiffs’ motions, and will await further direction from Judge Brody.”

WILD RATINGS WEEKEND

The NFL’s wild-card weekend drew huge television audiences.

The four games averaged 34.7 million viewers for the most-watched wild-card weekend on record.

The San Francisco 49ers’ 23-20 win over the Green Bay Packers had 47.1 million viewers Sunday on Fox to make it the most-watched wild-card game on record. The previous high was 42.4 million for the 2011 Steelers-Broncos game, which Denver won in overtime on Tim Tebow’s touchdown pass.

But Sunday’s game had two exciting quarterbacks, history-rich franchises and the spectacle of a frigid Lambeau Field. The audience was larger than that for every NFC divisional playoff game Fox has broadcast and 13 of its 19 NFC championship games.

The two Saturday games averaged 30.8 million viewers on NBC, a record for the Saturday wild-card games. The New Orleans Saints’ 26-24 win over the Philadelphia Eagles was the most-watched Saturday wild-card game ever with 34.4 million viewers.

Three of the four games were decided by three points or fewer, only the second time in NFL history that happened in an NFL playoff weekend, after the 2006 divisional round.

EXTRA POINTS

Less than a week before facing the New England Patriots in a playoff game, the Colts agreed to contract terms with former Patriots and Seahawks wide receiver Deion Branch. ... The Patriots put linebacker Brandon Spikes, the team’s second-leading tackler, on injured reserve with a knee injury. ... The Dolphins fired offensive coordinator Mike Sherman after two seasons. Miami ranked 27th in yards and 26th in scoring in 2013. ... The Browns said they were not interested in interviewing Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops for their head coaching vacancy, but Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels confirmed he met with Browns officials over the weekend regarding the job.

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