Gale Sayers Will Not Sue NFL, Riddell for Causing Brain Damage

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2013

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - DECEMBER 06:  Former NFL great Gale Sayers (L) of the Chicago Bears is directed by stage manager John Lauderdale during the taping of the NFL Players Week 10th Anniversary on Wheel Of Fortune on December 6, 2005 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images for PLAYERS INC)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Gale Sayers will no longer sue the NFL and Riddell as originally reported.


UPDATE: Sunday, Sept. 22, at 12:35 p.m. ET

Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune confirms that Gale Sayers will not sue the NFL and Riddell:

Gale Sayers told the Tribune on Saturday that he did not consent to a lawsuit filed under his name Friday in U.S. District Court in Chicago that alleges the NFL was negligent in handling his repeated head injuries.

And early Saturday evening, his wife, Ardie Sayers, said that attorney John F. Winters called them to say the suit will be dropped and that the situation was "a big misunderstanding."

---End of update---


Gale Says was reportedly set to become the latest in a long line of former NFL players suing the league for failing to protect players from concussions.

Michael Lansu of the Chicago Sun-Times provided the details of the case, which also names the helmet-making company Riddell as a defendant:

Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers is suing the NFL and Rosemont-based helmet maker Riddell for allegedly failing to prevent repeated head injuries that he said led to brain damage.

The former Chicago Bear claims he suffers headaches, occasional short-term memory loss and other cognitive deficits from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, according to a suit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

The NFL reached a settlement in August for $765 million to be distributed to former players suffering from concussion-related symptoms, according to The league was facing a lawsuit from more than 4,500 former athletes.

Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada of ESPN reported that anyone who died before 2006, regardless of any proof of concussion-related symptoms, would not be distributed a chunk of the money.

While the previous lawsuit featured numerous high-profile players, Sayers becomes yet another recognizable figure in the fight to receive better care for former athletes.

The former Chicago Bears player spent seven years in the NFL, totaling 4,956 rushing yards and 39 rushing touchdowns in that time.

CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 20: Hall of Fame Chicago Bears Dick Butkus (L) and Gale Sayers chat on the sidelines before a game between the Bears and the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 20, 2009 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Steele
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

He was named first-team All Pro in five different seasons, played in four Pro Bowls, twice led the NFL in rushing and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

However, injuries cut his career short, and brain-damage issues are apparently still haunting him at 70 years old. 


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