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NFL legend Gale Sayers drops concussion lawsuit against league

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Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers prior to the 1970 season. (AP Photo)

Former Chicago Bears great Gale Sayers has requested that a lawsuit filed in his name against the NFL alleging negligence in the treatment of his multiple head injuries be withdrawn. 

Sayers told the Chicago Tribune Saturday that he did not consent to the lawsuit, which was filed in his name Friday in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Sayers' wife, Ardie, told the paper that attorney John F. Winters had called them to say the matter was "a big misunderstanding" and that the suit would be dropped. 

Winters responded by telling the paper that Sayers had decided Saturday to withdraw the suit after requesting it be filed Tuesday. Sayers said that he spoke to Winters this week at the request of former Bears safety Shaun Gayle, but did not agree to sue the league. Winters responded that Gayle had nothing to do with the alleged original decision to sue the league.

"I didn't sign anything. … I talked to the attorney, but there wasn't nothing to it," Sayers told the Tribune.  

Sayers had already been named as a party to a lawsuit against the league last year in Pennsylvania. That suit was consolidated into a master case that ended with the NFL reaching a $765 million settlement with more than 4,500 former players who accused the league of hiding the dangers of head injuries suffered while promoting and profiting from the game's violence. 

"I had about one half of a concussion in all of the years that I played," Sayers told the Tribune Saturday. 

Sayers only played for seven seasons in the NFL before his career was cut shorting by multiple knee injuries in 1971 at the age of 28. He is one of only three NFL players to score six touchdowns in one game and he was the youngest player elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, achieving that honor in 1977 at the age of 34. 

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