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Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Retirees dismiss case against NFL

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- A group of retired players has decided to dismiss its lawsuit against the NFL now that the lockout is over.

Hall of Famer Carl Eller, Priest Holmes and several other retired players had accused the players' union and the NFL of illegally negotiating terms of a collective bargaining agreement on their behalf.

The NFLPA agreed to have the retired players join their antitrust lawsuit against the league when the lockout first began in the spring. Eller was a prominent figure in the early going, sitting in on mediation meetings with attorneys and representatives from all three sides of the dispute.

But as the negotiations heated up, the retired players were gradually phased out of the talks. The new deal secured substantial increases in benefits for retired players, but the Eller group initially declined to drop their case when the deal was ratified by the players union.

At a hearing on Aug. 10, U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson told the retired players that they would have a difficult time making their case.

Nelson said she sympathized with the retirees but likened their case to "pushing a rock up a hill."

The three sides met with U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan for a mediation session later that day, but no agreements were struck.

Shawn Stuckey, a lawyer for the retired players, said his clients voluntarily dismissed the case because it concentrated more on the lockout. The end of the lockout rendered that particular case moot, but he said they are still considering other avenues to get their voices heard.

Retired players are pursuing other claims against the league, too.

Earlier this month, seven former players sued the NFL in Philadelphia over concussion-related injuries, the first potential class-action lawsuit of its kind. And a lawsuit filed this summer Los Angeles Superior Court contends the NFL concealed information about the danger of concussions for decades.