League, ex-players want concussion suits heard in Pa.

PHILADELPHIA -- The National Football League hopes to consolidate in Philadelphia a string of lawsuits filed across the country by former players who say they've suffered concussion-related brain injuries.

Seven former players filed the first such lawsuit last summer in Philadelphia, where a similar lawsuit filed Monday seeks more than $5 million for more than 100 ex-players. Other lawsuits are pending or expected in California, Florida, New York and elsewhere, said lawyer Sol Weiss, who's involved in the first lawsuit.

A hearing is set for Jan. 26 in Miami for the parties to ask a federal judicial panel to consolidate the cases before a U.S. District Court judge in Philadelphia. The NFL requested the move to avoid trying related litigation in several districts, according to its motion.

The lawsuit filed Monday seeks damages for traumatic brain injuries and neurodegenerative disorders on behalf of 106 former players, including former Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Brent Boyd and three Hall of Famers: Detroit Lions cornerback Lem Barney, Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Joe DeLamielleure and Vikings defensive back Paul Krause.

The league pledges to vigorously fight accusations it failed to protect players, a spokesman said.

"The NFL has long made player safety a priority and continues to take steps to protect players and to advance the science and medical understanding of the management and treatment of concussions," spokesman Brian McCarthy said Monday. "The NFL has never misled players with respect to the risks associated with playing football. Any suggestion to the contrary has no merit."

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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