Plaintiffs hope settlement helps ailing ex-players

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“They deserve it, there’s no question about it,” said Mike Ditka, who played tight end for the Chicago Bears and later coached the 1986 Super Bowl winners. “It’s absolutely good to see that. I think people have hid behind this too long. It’s time it’s out in the open.”

The settlement also sets aside $75 million for medical exams, and all former NFL players are eligible to seek care, screening or compensation _ whether they suffered a documented concussion or not. The amounts they receive will be based on their age, condition and years of play.

They do not need to prove their health problems are connected to playing football.

“My whole deal, and the other lawsuit with images, is all about health care, which we don’t have,” said Joe DeLamielleure, the Hall of Fame offensive lineman with the Buffalo Bills. “Some reporter called and said, `That comes out to $170,000 per man.’ I said, `Good, I don’t want that. I want health care.’ Because what good is the money going to do you?

“My whole thing through this whole thing is we lived our dreams, the players, and now our families live our nightmares,” DeLamielleure added. “Let’s help take care of the women and the kids who have to take care of their dads from this stuff.”

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AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner and AP Sports Writers Schuyler Dixon, Larry Lage, Andrew Seligman, John Wawrow and Steven Wine also contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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