Junior Seau's Family Reportedly Will Proceed with Wrongful Death Lawsuit vs. NFL

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2014

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The family of former NFL linebacker Junior Seau will reportedly pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the league, per ESPN.com's Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru:

The decision to "opt out" means the Seaus will proceed with a wrongful death lawsuit they filed in January 2013. That suit alleges that the NFL concealed the dangers of football-related head trauma over a period of several years. After his death, Seau was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a neurodegenerative disease that has been found in dozens of deceased NFL players.

"The family want to know why this settlement seems designed for expediency for the NFL and to ensure that information doesn't come out," said Steven Strauss, a lawyer in the firm representing the Seau family. "And the Seau family wants the truth to come out."

As part of the new settlement, players have the choice to opt out and pursue separate legal action against the league.

Seau died in May 2012 of an apparent suicide. Researchers studied his brain postmortem and determined that he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the same disease that's plagued many former players.

Denis Poroy/Associated Press

His death served as the turning point in terms of how the NFL would handle the concussion epidemic. Seau wasn't the first player to suffer from CTE, but he was the most well-known. He is regarded as one of the best linebackers in the history of the league, appearing in 12 Pro Bowls and named as a first-team All-Pro on six occasions.

Shortly after Seau's passing, Fainaru-Wada and Fainaru's book, League of Denial, hit stores and a corresponding documentary aired on PBS, both of which chronicled the NFL's attempts to downplay the issue in the past.

If the Seau family does indeed follow through with a lawsuit against the NFL, the success or failure of that legal action could have major financial ramifications on the league. The discovery process might also unearth more information regarding the NFL's past handling of concussions and other types of head trauma.