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Concussion deal may not be end of NFL legal battle

September 4, 2013

The NFL’s concussion settlement may not have settled anything.

On Wednesday, two former Super Bowl champions — Troy Aikman and John Lynch, now Fox Sports broadcasters — contended the league has more work to do.

Aikman wants the NFL to divulge more details about what it knew regarding the long-term impact of repeated blows to the head, and when it knew it. Lynch said he expects even more litigation after the league tentatively agreed last week to pay out $765 million to a group of former players.

“What I’m happy about is that there are players that need it (the money) and need it now, and they’re going to be taken care of,” Lynch said. “But I think the notion that this is done now and we can move on is not really the reality. A new lawsuit was filed today, and from talking with Scott (Fujita) I think there are more to come.”

It wasn’t immediately clear which lawsuit Lynch was referring to, though one was filed Sunday in New Orleans. Former NFL players Jimmy Williams, Rich Mauti, Jimmy Keyes and Nolan Franz claim the league hid information about the dangers of brain injury.

While neither Lynch nor Aikman were part of the original lawsuit, both know a thing or two about concussions.

Lynch was one of the league’s hardest hitting safeties in Tampa Bay and Denver from 1993 through 2007. Though Lynch has said he was never officially diagnosed with a concussion, he told a Tampa columnist in 2011 that there were times he was “woozy” and asked a teammate to take his spot closer to the line of scrimmage while he recovered.

Aikman won three Super Bowls with the Cowboys during the 1990s, but his 12-year career ended prematurely in part because of repeated concussions.

Today, Lynch and Aikman say they feel “great” and have shown no symptoms of long-term damage.

In fact, Aikman said he recently was tested in Dallas. Doctors, Aikman said, told him Tuesday that the tests were all clear.

While Aikman believes the settlement will help the former players with the most immediate need, he called the settlement a “win” for the NFL.

“It’s a lot of money, but I think in terms of what could have been paid, it’s not that much,” Aikman said. “I think probably in the big scheme of things, it’s a real positive. These guys will be able to benefit some and some money will be put into research, which will help. The one thing I’m disappointed about is that the NFL didn’t have to acknowledge what they knew about (the long-term impact) and when they knew about it. I think full disclosure would have been the best way to go, but that’s not going to happen now.”

If Lynch is right, perhaps the league will be forced into divulging more details.

Until then, the two will continue calling games on Fox Sports, where they have a new teammate in Randy Moss. The former receiver has rarely held his tongue, which is exactly what Fox executives wanted.

“He’s being himself,” Fox Sports executive producer John Entz said. “He’s being very natural and organic, which is what we love about him.”

Moss acknowledged that he hasn’t settled on a style, and he may show a certain penchant for teams he played with during his career. When asked to pick which NFC North team he thought would pose the biggest challenge to Green Bay’s reign, he first said he was “biased” before blurting out the expected: The Minnesota Vikings.

And like the eccentric receiver who started his career in Minnesota, Moss didn’t mince words, noting the two most important positions in football are quarterback and running back.

“I’m just excited to have something different in my life and something that I do know about is football,” he said. “There’s not too many things I do know about, but I do know football.”

While he does seem to have an answer for everything, there is one exception. He doesn’t want to talk about concussions.

“I have no comment on it. I know it’s a serious issue,” he said. “But I didn’t have anything, and I don’t want anything to do with it.”


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