USAToday: Chargers 'devastated' by ex-DB Paul Oliver's suicide at 29    League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis, will air on FRONTLINE on October 8 & 15. Check your local listings    LA Times: Deion Sanders, critic of NFL concussion suits, seeks workers' comp    FOXSports: NFL, players reach proposed $765M settlement of concussion-related lawsuits    Sean Pamphilon's United States of Football in theaters starting Aug 23rd!    Washington Post: Do no harm: Who should bear the costs of retired NFL players’ medical bills?    You can catch all the posts and videos from our recent Third Annual Football Veterans Conference - everything now posted here on Dave's Blog!

EDITOR’S NOTE: We received this first-hand report from retired player, Bob Lurtsema, who was one of the “uninvited players” who showed up last week along with Bob Stein and many of the Plaintiffs in the NFL Films lawsuit Status Conference. Each and every retired player needs to read Bob’s words of caution closely and send in their comments.
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Fellow retired players -
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I attended the court-ordered Status Conference in the Dryer v. NFL case on November 27 in Minneapolis to see what was up. What I saw was an attempted sell-out and ambush by the NFL and Michael Hausfeld to force Bob Stein and the original Plaintiffs to accept the NFL’s offer. The NFL and Hausfeld tried to pit players against players.
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Hausfeld brought along 10 or so non-Plaintiff retired players to support him. They were part of a secret group he organized to try to control the Dryer lawsuit payments. We discovered that one guy they brought in had never even been an NFL player! He paid for their travel but refused to pay for the original Plaintiffs’ travel as required by his retainer agreements with them.
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The original Plaintiffs who started the case were not even allowed in Hausfeld’s player meeting. When all the plaintiff attorneys met with all the players there, I was surprised the Magistrate openly pushed for the NFL deal (a very low offer of $50 million total), cut off Bob Stein who pointed out major shortcomings to the deal and then let Hausfeld ramble on to try and sell it. Right after that meeting, Hausfeld rushed out to confer with the NFL lawyers.
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The NFL-Hausfeld proposal, opposed by all original Plaintiffs (Fred Dryer, Jim Marshall, Joe Senser, Dan Pastorini, Elvin Bethea, Ed White) and Bob Stein, stunk to me. Under the NFL-Hausfeld proposal, NO player would be paid for using his rights …ever! Each retired player would give up all his NFL-related publicity rights forever and any money would only go to the neediest of player charity programs. The only ones getting paid are the lawyers!
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The proposal didn’t even have a guaranteed payment amount since all costs of opt-out player lawsuits against the NFL will be paid out of the settlement money! A very small group of players (Hausfeld’s?) would also be put in control of where the money goes. All of us would have to release our publicity rights (pictures, film of play, autographs) forever – and except for possible charity payments – will get paid nothing in the future. The Licensing Agency it set up looks just like the NFL Alumni Program – which LOST $5 million. So I don’t see what we’re getting for giving up claims to what Stein described as “the multi-billion dollar NFL Films vault” and over $150 million/year the NFL makes from using us in NFL Films.
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The NFL-Hausfeld proposal will pay $42 million (after $8 million in legal fees are paid) over 12 years, with all of it going only to charity programs. That amounts to under $15/month for each of the 20,000+ players whose rights would also be signed away. Of course, the lawyers would get paid $8 million up front immediately. Looks to me like each of us will gain absolutely nothing from the NFL-Hausfeld settlement and only the NFL and the lawyers win. No wonder Bob Stein and all the original Plaintiffs think it’s an inadequate deal. After all, over those 12 years when the NFL would be paying out about $3.5 million a year, they would make over $1.8 billion using us in NFL Films! After that, they would then pay nothing more and use our rights forever!
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Bob Stein and the original Plaintiffs all want a deal where every player who gives up his rights forever knows in advance what he would personally get for it, either in dollars or health care benefits …and that it should be enough to mean something.
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I didn’t know why other players besides the Plaintiffs were there but it seemed they were trying to set up the illusion of a “support vote” from guys who were not even Plaintiffs, all without opening the meeting to ALL retired players, just to pressure the original Plaintiffs to go along. Other retired players did not even know about this Status Conference and I only heard about it at the last minute. Hausfeld’s guys were mostly for the deal but ALL the original Plaintiffs and Stein opposed it. I still don’t see the point of the Status Conference but I do see the NFL-Hausfeld deal as bogus and completely one-sided.
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I am against accepting it and wanted all of you to know why. But it should be your own call to make.
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Bob Lurtsema
Baltimore Colts, New York Giants
Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks
1967 – 1977
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Football damaged my brain and it didn’t have to happen

GEORGE VISGER, a former 49er, tells his story
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Due to the size and speed of today’s football players, the kinetic energy they generate during hits can have long-term consequences. Here’s my story:
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My football career began at age 11 in 1970 when I suited up for the West Stockton Bear Cubs, the first Pee Wee Pop Warner team fielded in Stockton, Calif. Of the 29 kids on the team, three went on to sign NFL contracts in 1980 (myself — sixth round, New York Jets; Jack Cosgrove — eighth round, Seattle Seahawks; Pat Bowe — free agent, Green Bay Packers).
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During my third year of Pop Warner, I was hospitalized when I knocked myself unconscious during a tackling drill. The exercise was a needless bull-in-the-ring drill that was more of a gladiator competition for the coaches’ amusement than a means of teaching useful techniques to young players.
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The coaches had us form a big circle about 25 yards across and numbered the 40 of us 1 to 20 on each side. When your number was called, you and the player on the other side with the same number sprinted directly at each other and hit head-to-head.
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Concussions followed throughout my high school career, though I never missed a game or practice. In my senior year, we went 11-0 and ranked No. 3 in California. I was selected to the All-America Top 100 Team.
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I entered the University of Colorado on a football scholarship in 1976 as a 6-foot, 5-inch 235-pound defensive tackle, majoring in biology. I was a starter for three years and suffered a number of minor concussions, but I never missed a play except after leg injuries.
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Turning pro

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Author Irv Muchnick has been covering the big picture on concussions in sports and its broader effects on society in general. In following up with our most recent posts and debates with insiders from the NFLPA on their role in Disability Benefits – or lack thereof – we’re presenting three of Irv’s current posts.
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Posted with the express consent of Irv Muchnick:
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Sports Concussion Crisis a Culture-Wide Problem – Maybe a Post-Ideological One, Too

August 8‚ 2011
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by Irvin Muchnick
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Writing in The Nation’s special August 15-22 sports issue, currently on newsstands, recently retired Denver Broncos wide receiver turned social critic Nate Jackson reflects on the football concussion crisis. Jackson is short on specifics and long on the banal (“But at what price comes the glory?”). Jackson also makes regrettable separation from the essential theme: traumatic brain injuries are not the same as blown-out knees; the National Football League’s commerce-first values inculcate amateur sports, as well; and the depth and breadth of the resulting societal fallout far exceed the public’s current perception.
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This is your Disability Board. This is your Disability Board at work.
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Former Seattle Seahawk Sam McCullum has declared himself as Dave Duerson’s replacement on the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Disability Board. And he’s not shy to talk about it. McCullum’s been sending out his thoughts on disability and entitlement to the local chapter of the NFLPA and it’s inflamed (a mild way to put it!) a lot of retirees to say the least. Here are some clips from his latest e-mails (EDITOR’S NOTE: our highlights in RED):
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“I can tell you this that the NFLPA and the league were in negotiations yesterday to finalize a number of open issues. I spoke to the folks about the benefits that are still pending, and was told I would learn a lot more at the meeting I will attending starting Wednesday. So time permitting I will send out an update on Friday.
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And a little Friday humor to kick the weekend off:
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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Gets Pranked By Seattle Seahawks Raheem Brock And Chester Pitts

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In a bid to end the lockout, Seattle Seahawks Raheem Brock and Chester Pitts take their talents from the field to the phone with a prank call to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Expect Barack Obama impersonations and ‘gajillion’ dollar requests to aid in their mission.
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January Roundup

28 January 2010

Wow! Is it just us or did January whiz right by and now we’re already heading into February and the Superbowl? Here’s a roundup of some items to close off the month.

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