The “Maddening Labyrinth” Aging NFL Players Face for Dementia Compensation

MIAMI - JANUARY 17: Linebacker Chuck Howley #54, of the Dallas Cowboys, helps George Andrie #66, Larry Cole #63, Dave Edwards #52 and Charlie Waters #41 stop Earl Morrall #15 on a quarterback sneak at the goal line during Super Bowl V on January 17, 1971 against the Baltimore Colts at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. (Photo by: Diamond Images/Getty Images)

For a decade, George Andrie played defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys as a member of the “Doomsday Defense.” Now, at age 78, despite the fact four different doctors agree that Andrie’s dementia is linked to his football career, the NFL has twice denied his settlement claim in a “maddening labyrinth” of a process beset by confusion and delays. Dom Cosentino tells Andrie’s story at Deadspin.

George Andrie has always been a devoted father to Mary Brooks and her six siblings. But with the benefit of hindsight, Brooks also sees that something was always a bit off about her dad, going back to when she was a child. The outgoing guy she always knew suddenly became less socially engaged in the early 1980s, about 10 years after Andrie retired from the NFL.

“He was definitely a family man; I want to make it totally clear that he was a loving father,” Brooks said. “I just thought that he was needy. I thought he was middle-aged, grumpy. I knew that he was withdrawn and a little distant and had a very hard time with social situations and things like that—and he didn’t used to be that way.

“But we didn’t know. If you look back now, the man suffered forever. It all makes sense now.”

“I’m not getting my hopes up,” Brooks told me.

And why should she? Every step of the process has been met by some kind of confusion or delay. Brooks is long past the point of trusting the motives of the NFL or those charged with representing the interests of the concussion settlement’s claimants.

“The public needs to know [what] the NFL really is,” Brooks said. “That’s my biggest mission is just to expose them for who they are.”

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