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Dan Marino sues NFL over concussions

Dan Marino

(CNN) — Dan Marino, considered one of the greatest quarterbacks in National Football League history, is suing the NFL over concussions. The move will probably shine new light on former players’ complaints and raise the pressure for a major settlement, some former players and legal analysts said.

Marino, a Hall of Famer who starred for the Miami Dolphins for 17 seasons, joined 14 other former players in filing the federal lawsuit, according to court documents filed last week in Philadelphia. In the suit, they say the NFL knew for years of a link between concussions and long-term health problems.

They’re asking a jury to decide monetary damages and are seeking medical monitoring for the former players.

Each player submitted a brief complaint with standard language saying they suffer from brain injuries and exhibit symptoms that have developed over time. The document doesn’t specify the nature of Marino’s injuries.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league had no comment on the lawsuit.

In a separate case, a federal judge declined in January to approve a proposed $760 million settlement of claims arising from concussions suffered by NFL players, saying she didn’t think it was enough money.

The estimated 20,000 class members over the settlement’s 65-year lifespan would include former players with early dementia, moderate dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and/or death with a postmortem diagnosis of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain disorder.

Marino entering the legal battle can only help players, former player Coy Wire told CNN’s “New Day” on Tuesday.

“I think what this does is sets this into a new category because Dan Marino is a household name in the sport of football, a Hall of Famer, iconic individual who was never known to be lazy, who would not be known to make a money grab,” said Wire, who played linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons and Buffalo Bills. “This guy is changing the game for the players in terms of the perception of what’s happening here with this suit.”

HLN legal analyst Danny Cevallos said Marino’s name recognition and reputation will probably push any payout higher.

Between the January decision rejecting the class-action settlement and Marino’s entry into the fray, “the NFL better be raising its expectation in terms of how much it’s going to be on the hook,” he said.

Marino, 52, was considered one of the most durable quarterbacks in the NFL and once started 99 games in a row. Known for a quick release, he still holds several NFL records. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

Other former players involved in the suit are Richard Bishop, Ethan Johnson, Chris Dugan, Anthony Grant, Mark Green, LaCurtis Jones, John Huddleston, Erik Affholter, Toddrick McIntosh, Dwight Wheeler, Jackie Wallace, Moses Moreno, Peter Manning and Bruce Clark.

Sol Weiss, one of the lawyers who filed the Marino group’s lawsuit, is also one of the attorneys who settled the class-action concussion case with the NFL.