Andrew Kulp, Associated Press

The NFL is no doubt breathing a sigh of relief Monday, December 12, 2016, as the biggest and most famous concussion lawsuit ever filed is officially a thing of the past.

The Associated Press reports the United States Supreme Court has rejected challenges to the estimated settlement of $1 billion that was already reached in the case. Since the court has opted not hear the case, the settlement will remain in place as is, and the lawsuit is over.

With the lawsuit reaching its conclusion, the AP notes former NFL players who are suffering as a result of concussions should soon begin to receive payouts. Those awards could reach as high as $5 million in cases of severe brain trauma.

Over 20,000 retired players were part of the lawsuit. Some felt the settlement was not large enough.

At this point, the NFL is likely happy to put this chapter behind them and begin moving forward. While concussions in general and the lawsuit alleging the league actively engaged in hiding their effects don’t appear to be hurting the league’s bottom line right now, just knowing that it’s out there in the news must make executives nervous.

And while concussions aren’t going away with this lawsuit, the NFL can now begin to distance itself from shady practices of the past and point to their focus on player safety in the present. That doesn’t mean there won’t be more negative press stemming from the inherent violence of the game, but this has been a black cloud hanging over the league for awhile.

Most important of all, retired players will begin to get money to put toward their medical costs and treatments that weren’t necessarily available to them previously. For some, it still might not be enough to correct the damage that’s been done by concussions, but it’s a start.

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