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Dolphins Hall-of-Famer Dan Marino is officially withdrawing from the NFL concussion lawsuit, claiming he did not intend to be included in the first place.
Marino released a statement explaining that he had authorized a claim to be filed on his behalf "in case I needed future medical coverage" for future head-trauma-related effects, but he did not know he would automatically be listed as a plaintiff. The Miami Herald reports that Marino officially rebuffed any claims that he suffers from current head injuries.
What prompted Marino to be part of the suit in the first place?
Thousands of ex-football players had been named plaintiffs in a suit which called for the National Football League to answer for the serious health effects caused by football-related head trauma. According to USA Today, Marino and 14 other NFL players filed suit in Pennsylvania federal court last week to join these former players in their concussion suit.
The filing had no specific information about Marino's health, but his inclusion generated media buzz about a football great joining this concussion suit. The filing that included Marino's name came several months after a judge rejected a proposed $760 million settlement between the NFL and the former players.
The Herald reports that the inclusion of Marino's name had bolstered support for the concussion suit with other lesser-known plaintiffs, who believed Marino was "like all the rest of us who had concussions." That made it sting all the worse when Marino announced he was withdrawing from the suit less than a week after joining.
As a player whose 17-year career ended in 2000, Marino would have been covered by the proposed concussion settlement, assuming a judge approves it.
Boomer Esiason, a former Bengals quarterback and radio show host, commented that "[a]ll it takes is one lawyer" to convince a player like Marino to join a lawsuit based on a promise of a potential payout, reports the Herald. Marino's counsel may have told him that if Marino had been diagnosed with early signs of dementia even at age 60, he may have been able to collect nearly $300,000 in settlement funds.
Perhaps the negative press surrounding his joining the suit, or the fact that Marino claims to suffer no current ill-effects from concussions, explains the player's decision to withdraw. Or maybe, as Sports Illustrated notes, his current talks with the Miami Dolphins about a desk job guided Marino's hand.
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