PHOENIX The NFL is still being sued by a group of 4,000 former players who claim the league did not do enough to warn about the dangers and long-term effects of head injuries.
But Commissioner Roger Goodell took care of another lawsuit brought by former players Monday, announcing a settlement in a class-action suit that challenged the use of retired player images by NFL Films.
In the 2009 suit, players asked to be compensated for use of their names and images in NFL Films footage.
Under the terms of the settlement, the NFL will contribute $42 million over eight years to a fund that will provide retired players with assistance for medical, housing and career transition costs. The settlement also creates an independent licensing agency to ensure players are paid for their images in the future.
Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, who played for the Baltimore Colts in 1959-60, joined Goodell and 15 other retired players, including Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, for the announcement on the first day of the league meetings.
“Some of my most frustrating moments in discussions have evolved around this issue of what in my judgment is fairness to the former players of the league who were not included in the benefit packages,” Richardson said.
“It’s a new day,” he added. “And fortunately, it’s better late than never.”
Scheduling conflict: The NFL’s 10-year tradition of having its reigning Super Bowl champion kick off the season with a home game is in danger because of a scheduling conflict between the Baltimore Orioles and the Ravens.
The league wants the Ravens to open with a Thursday night game on Sept. 5, when the Orioles are scheduled to host the Chicago White Sox.
Goodell has talked to baseball Commissioner Bud Selig about moving the baseball game to the afternoon, although the Orioles are concerned because both teams have night games on the road on Sept. 4, according to the Baltimore Sun.
The NFL will not play its game on Sept. 4 because that’s the first day of Rosh Hashanah. If the O’s and Ravens can’t reach a compromise, Goodell said the only other option is sending the Ravens on the road.
No progress in Edwards negotiations: There has been no movement in the contract negotiations between the Panthers and defensive tackle Dwan Edwards, who said last week Carolina offered him a 1-year deal.
According to a league source, the offer was $1.5 million, which is what Edwards made last season when he finished with six sacks, the most by a Panthers defensive tackle since Kris Jenkins had seven in 2002.
Edwards signed with the Panthers in September after Buffalo cut him at the end of the preseason. Despite missing two games with a wrist injury, he was second among NFC defensive tackles in sacks behind Ndamukong Suh (eight).
Edwards said he has a two-year offer from at least one team, and seems inclined to take one of those if the Panthers don’t add more money or a year to the deal.
Extra points: The Panthers received no compensatory picks, which were announced Monday and based on each team’s free agent acquisitions and departures. The Panthers have five picks in the April draft.
They traded their third-round selection to the San Francisco 49ers last year to take defensive end Frank Alexander in the fourth round, and sent their seventh-round pick to Oakland for wideout Louis Murphy, who signed with the Giants on Saturday after one season in Charlotte.
• The Panthers announced they re-signed No. 3 tight end Ben Hartsock, who spent the past two seasons in Charlotte. Hartsock’s agent said last week it is a one-year deal. Hartsock is a blocking specialist who has been a part of teams that rushed for 2,000 yards in seven of the past eight years, including both of his seasons in Carolina.
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