Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL Nation [Print without images]

Thursday, August 29, 2013
Ditka calls agreement 'quite a settlement'

By Michael C. Wright

Former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka offered his take Thursday on the $765 million settlement reached between the NFL and more than 4,500 former players.

“Concussions are part of the game,” Ditka said. “I know a lot of the old players need a lot of help, and it’s quite a settlement from what I understand. I think people have hid behind this too long. It’s time it’s out in the open. It’s out in the open now, so we’ll see what happens.”

The former players alleged that the NFL mistreated concussions by hiding the risks. With the lawsuit now settled, the allegations against the league won’t be made public in court.

According to the court document, following the order from Senior U.S. District Judge Anita Brody outlining the settlement, “the settlement does not represent, and cannot be considered an admission by the NFL of liability, or an admission that plaintiffs’ injuries were caused by football. Nor is it an acknowledgement by the plaintiffs of any deficiency in their case. Instead, it represents a decision by both sides to compromise their claims and defenses, and to devote their resources to benefit retired players and their families, rather than litigate these cases.”

Alicia Duerson, the ex-wife of former Bears safety Dave Duerson, who committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest in February 2011, told ESPN’s Kelly Naqi she still isn’t quite sure of the implications the settlement carries. Duerson’s family donated his brain to the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University, where experts found the former safety’s brain tissue revealed evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

“It’s so new,” Alicia Duerson said. “We haven’t had a chance to talk to the attorneys, so I don’t know what it means for me and my kids. I’ll need a couple of days to digest it.”