The league had also argued that individual teams bear the chief responsibility for health and safety under the collective bargaining agreement, along with the players' union and the players themselves.
Dorsett said each day is getting harder for him, as he struggles with memory problems.
"It's frustrating. Frustrating. And to have a 10-year old daughter who says to her mother, 'Daddy can't do this because Daddy won't remember how to do it,' it's not a good feeling," he said. "I'm glad to see there's been ... acknowledgment that football has had something to do with a lot of the issues us players are going through right now."
In recent years, a string of former NFL players and other athletes who suffered concussions have been diagnosed after their deaths with CTE, including both Seau and Easterling.
While some of those who sued suffered brain ailments, others were worried about future problems and wanted their health monitored.
"I'm relieved; I don't know about pleased. There are probably too many details to work through that we don't all understand yet, quite frankly. But I'm relieved that both sides came together to protect the game we all love and help the players of the past and tomorrow. And to especially help those who need help right now, who have cognitive issues and those whose quality of life has been taken away," said Mark Rypien, the MVP of the 1992 Super Bowl for the Washington Redskins.
He has dealt with depression and memory problems.
"It's a good day, because we're getting help for those who need help," Rypien said, "and a sad day, because we didn't get this done earlier to help guys in the past."
Researchers at the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, who have been examining brains of deceased NFL players, praised the $10 million set aside for research.
The lawsuits, along with a growing awareness that concussions can have serious long-term effects, have already spurred research into better helmets and changed the way the game is played.
Helmet maker Riddell, which was also sued, was not a party to the settlement. The company declined comment.
The NFL has also instituted rule changes designed to eliminate hits to the head and neck, protect defenseless players, and prevent athletes who have had concussions from playing or practicing until they are fully recovered. Independent neurologists must be consulted before a player can return to action.
One key rule change that takes effect this season bars ball carriers from using the crown of the helmet to make contact with defenders.
"We thought it was critical to get more help to players and families who deserve it rather than spend many years and millions of dollars on litigation," NFL Executive Vice President Jeffrey Pash Executive Vice President Jeffrey Pash said in a statement, the only comment issued by the league. "This is an important step that builds on the significant changes we've made in recent years to make the game safer."
AP Pro Football Writers Howard Fendrich and Barry Wilner in New York and AP Sports Writer Nancy Armour in Detroit contributed to this report.
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