NFL Reaches Settlement Over Ex-Star's Suicide

The family of Hall of Famer Junior Seau has reached a settlement with the NFL over a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the league in 2012.

Seau committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest in 2012 with the general assumption being that he wanted to preserve his brain for further testing for CTE.

The Seau family donated his brain tissue to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.

The NIH’s findings showed definitive signs of CTE in Seau’s brain. The Seau family then sued the NFL over the brain injuries he suffered throughout his 20-year NFL career.

The confidential settlement between the Seau family and the NFL is for an undisclosed sum and it comes after the family opted out of the NFL concussion settlement that more than 20,000 former players are a part of.

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Seau’s four children are glad the case is finally resolved according Steve Strauss, one of the family’s lawyers.

“I’m glad that it’s resolved for them now so they can move on with their lives,” Strauss said Friday. “It took a long time. That was frustrating, but it was successfully settled, and that’s good.

“Throughout this process, they have demonstrated the same spirit and commitment that their father, Junior, modeled during his incredible life and NFL career. We know he would have been proud of them.”

One year after Seau’s death, the NFL agreed to a $675 million settlement with former players that was later amended to include unlimited damages. Based on Seau’s age at the time of his death (43), and the diagnosis of CTE, his family could have received up to $4 million by staying in the settlement.

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But the Seau family opted out of the deal and argued that the settlement didn’t “include any valuation for the children’s wrongful-death claims, among other deficiencies.”

According to The New York Times, legal experts say Seau’s prominence as a player and the circumstances of his death likely meant that the NFL paid more than $4 million to reach a settlement with his family.

The settlement also comes just two weeks after ESPN released a “30 for 30” documentary on Seau’s life and career.

“Seau” looks at the former player’s upbringing in a Samoan immigrant family and includes his rise to stardom with USC and the San Diego Chargers before his suicide.

Seau’s 20 NFL seasons are tied for the third-most in league history and are the most ever for a linebacker. He spent most of his career with the Chargers, where he 12 Pro Bowls and 10 All-Pro teams.

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After 13 years in San Diego, Seau then played three seasons with the Dolphins and four seasons with the Patriots.

He was posthumously elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2015, where his daughter Sydney accepted the honor on his behalf.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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