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NFL Retired Players United

Former NFL Player Jeff Nixon keeping former players and fans updated on the issues affecting former AFL and NFL players.

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NFL Concussion Settlement Official Website

We are now less than 30 days away from the final approval and implementation of the NFL Concussion Settlement.

If there are no appeals filed with the United States Supreme Court by the deadline of July 19, 2016, the Settlement will become final and the BAP (Baseline Assessment Program) could be implemented as soon as October.

If you haven’t visited the official website for the NFL Concussion Settlement, here is a link to that website: NFL Concussion Settlement Website

When you get to the home page of the website, there is a link at the top and bottom of the page that says [SIGN UP FOR FUTURE INFORMATION]

The website has an FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) page at this link: NFL Concussion Settlement FAQ's

I encourage all former players to go to the official NFL Concussion website and provide them with your contact information. Eventually, this site will be used to register for the Settlement benefits. You should also stay in close contact with your lawyer, if you have retained a law firm.

It is important to know that out of 20,000 former players that are part of the settlement less than 5,000 former players retained an attorney, so there are a lot of guys out there that do not know all the details and provisions of the Settlement. Please share this information with them. 

In all Settlements there are many members of the class that never take advantage of the benefits. In fact, it is estimated that almost 20% of eligible players will not even bother to register. Let's do everything we can to get the word out that it is critical for former players to register once the Settlement has been approved. A retired player will be required to register within 180 days (6 months) of final approval to submit a claim for medical and/or financial benefits.  

Gentlemen, we are close to the finish line in getting the Settlement approved, but once that happens,  we will begin a new effort to make sure that every former players gets registered. 

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This past Monday, June 6, 2016 marked the 30th year that Jim Kelly has held the Celebrity Golf Classic to raise funds for the Kelly for Kids Foundation and Hunter's HopeOver 50 celebrities come together from the sports and entertainment industry for a memorable weekend. The VIP Gala takes place on the Sunday of the tournament, and typically over 1,000 people are in attendance. It includes a Chinese, silent, and live auction with some of the most unique sports memorabilia. Food stations, live entertainment, and an exciting program keep attendees busy when not bidding on items. Each foursome is paired with a celebrity golfer, and at the Gala they offer a celebrity draft which gives all foursomes the opportunity to bid on a specific celebrity to golf with on Monday.

It has been a tremendous honor for me to attend Jim's Tournament and help him with these two great charitable organizations. They have raised over 5 million for local charities. My connection  with the Kelly family goes back to my days of playing football at the University of Richmond, where I played on the same Spider football team as his older brother, Ray Kelly. 

Jim's oldest brother, Pat Kelly also played football at Richmond and was instrumental in recruiting me to attend the U of R. I just wish I could have returned the favor by convincing his brother Jim to sign with the Bills in 1984. 

Most fans don't know this, but Jim Kelly was recruited to play linebacker at Penn State. Maybe they thought he would follow in the footsteps of his brothers Pat and Ray.  Ray was one hell of a linebacker and Pat is in the Richmond Hall of Fame. He was a three-time All-Southern Conference selection. He was named National Lineman of the Week by the Associated Press following a West Virginia game on October 20, 1973. In that game, Kelly had eleven unassisted tackles, twelve assisted tackles, four pass breakups and two interceptions as the Spiders defeated West Virginia 38-17 at City Stadium in Richmond. He played in the Blue-Gray game in 1973 and played in the national Football League for the Baltimore Colts in 1974.  

The Kelly brothers are the best...... and they know how to bring out the best in others. That's what life is all about. Helping your family, your friends and those less fortunate than yourself, because "There, but for the grace of God, go I."  What can be better than having some fun and raising money for a good cause at the same time?  

Here are some pictures from this years VIP Party and Golf Tournament:     

The Jim Kelly 30th Annual Celebrity Golf Tournament and VIP Party

Wednesday, June 1st 2016 could become an historic day for thousands of former NFL Players that have been waiting patiently for the appeals to the NFL concussion settlement to be “exhausted” so that guys with serious cognitive impairments can finally begin the process of applying for monetary awards.

Thomas L. Ambro, one of the three judges that heard the original NFL Concussion Settlement appeal, said the majority of judges in the court were not in favor of rehearing the case.

When the 3 judges initially affirmed Judge Brody’s approval of the settlement,  they said “This settlement will provide nearly $1 billion in value to the class of retired players. It is a testament to the players, researchers and advocates who have worked to expose the true human costs of a sport so many love. Though not perfect, it is fair.”

In an article I wrote last December,  I said “Nothing is perfect for either side in a negotiated settlement, and the court acknowledged that in their remarks. Nonetheless, it appeared to the judges that the appealing lawyers wanted a perfect settlement. They noted that many of the changes recommended by the appealing players were already addressed by Judge Brody and that she had already made some significant changes to the settlement to make it fairer for former players.”

The Judges were absolutely right when they said this is a “Testament” to the players, researchers and advocates who have worked to expose the true human costs of a sport so many love. 

This journey began back in 2011 when the first lawsuits began to roll in and the snowball became an avalanche that the NFL couldn’t ignore. Almost 5,000 players joined the crusade for justice that eventually led to this settlement. Those players made a tremendous sacrifice on behalf of all 20,000 former players that are now included in the final settlement. Even Dan Marino, who filed a case and then backtracked, is covered under this settlement - because he did not opt out. 

The players that signed retainer agreements will be paying their lawyers around 33 % (if they receive a monetary award), whereas the 15,000 players that did not file suit are not obligated to pay a lawyer anything, unless they decide to hire a lawyer to assist them with application and claim process. That might not be such a bad idea, but I should warn former players not to sign anything that obligates you to pay a percentage of any award you might receive.  Hire an attorney strictly on a fee for service arrangement - with a firm cap on the total amount they can charge you. 

The lawsuits and the settlement weren’t only about getting money for injuries. Former players also wanted to see a medical monitoring system put in place and a treatment program with free prescriptions for players that were beginning to show early symptoms of impairment. The NFL will pay up to 75 million to put that medical monitoring system into place and operate it for the next 10 years. It will be known as the Baseline Assessment Program. The NFL will not be overseeing or administering the system. Judge Brody and a Special Master that reports directly to her, will make sure everything is up to snuff.  

As part of the Settlement, an Education Fund of 10 million will also be established to fund programs promoting safety and injury prevention with respect to football players, including safety related initiatives in youth football. It will also be used to inform and educate retired NFL football players regarding  medical and disability benefits and programs included in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but believe it or not, some former players could still try to appeal this case to the Supreme Court of the United States – delaying it for another six months, or longer. Approximately 7,000 to 8,000 cases are filed every year, but the court hears an average of 80 cases. The chances of the Supreme court hearing an appeal on the NFL concussion settlement is slim and none.

I hope that prominent attorneys  will continue to step forward and call for an end to the frivolous appeals by attorneys and a few former players who are doing nothing  – other than holding the rest of us hostage to their demands.

If they were so sure that they had a good argument, they should have opted out of the settlement back when they had a chance to do so. Approximately 200 former players took that brave choice and soon we will see if it was a wise choice.   

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