By Eric Kelsey
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino on Tuesday said he will withdraw from a lawsuit that accuses the National Football League of hiding the effects of concussions because he was inadvertently listed as a plaintiff in the case.
Marino, 52, who was the highest-profile former player involved in legal action against the league over head injuries, said in a statement issued to Sports Illustrated magazine that in the past year he authorized a legal claim to be made on his behalf if he ever needed medical coverage due to the long-term effects of football-related head trauma.
“In so doing I did not realize I would be automatically listed as a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the NFL,” the former Miami Dolphins star said in the statement.
“I have made the decision it is not necessary for me to be part of any claims or this lawsuit and therefore I am withdrawing as a plaintiff effective immediately,” Marino said, adding that he is not currently suffering from head injuries.
His longtime agent, Marvin Demoff, earlier said Marino would not take part in the suit with 14 other ex-players filed last week in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia. The suit alleges the NFL knew there was a link between concussions and long-term health problems for decades and hid information about “football-related brain injuries” from players.
Marino spent his entire 17-year career with the Dolphins and set numerous NFL passing records before retiring in 1999. He then spent 12 years as an NFL analyst for CBS Sports.
The other players in the suit asked for monetary damages to be determined at a jury trial and for medical monitoring.
Each player submitted a short-form complaint with standard language that they suffer from brain injuries and exhibit symptoms that have developed over time but did not specify the nature of their injuries.
This latest filing follows a $760 million settlement between the NFL and more than 4,500 former players over concussions that was rejected in January by a U.S. judge who said it might not be enough to pay all of the affected players.
Up to 20,000 former players could ultimately still be eligible for payments over the settlement’s 65-year span.
That lawsuit, filed in 2012, contended that the league hid the dangers of brain injury among players while profiting from the sport’s violent physical contact.
The NFL has contended that it never concealed information related to head or brain injuries that might occur while playing in the league.
A growing body of academic research shows that repeated hits to the head may produce a condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which can lead to aggression and dementia.
The research already has prompted the NFL to make changes on the field, including banning certain hits and requiring teams to keep players who show concussion-like symptoms off the field.
NFL Hall of Fame players Eric Dickerson and Tony Dorsett also are among the best-known ex-NFL players to have sued the league over concussions.
(Additional reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Bill Trott)