The players accused the National Football League in dozens of lawsuits of glorifying the violence of the game without warning players that repeat concussions can lead to brain damage and a predisposition to depression and suicide.
The plaintiffs included former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett, Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon, and the families of former San Diego Charger Junior Seau and former Atlanta Falcon Ray Easterling, who both committed suicide last year, and Dave Duerson, the ex-Chicago Bear who committed suicide in 2011.
After a month of court-ordered mediation, it was decided that $675 million will go to a compensation fund for retired players who have severe cognitive impairment, dementia, Alzheimer's or Lou Gehrig's disease. Doctors and court administrators will determine how much goes to each player, and they can apply for more if their condition worsens over time.
Another $75 million will be used to provide retired players with medical exams and the last $10 million will go to a research and education fund.
Mediator and former federal judge Layn Phillips called the settlement a "win-win" situation for all involved.
"The alternative was for the two sides to spend the next 10 years and millions of dollars on litigation, which would have been great for lawyers, expert witnesses, trial consultants and others," Phillips said in a statement.
"But it would not do much for retired players and their families, who are in need. This resolution allows both sides to join together, do something constructive and build a better game for the future."