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From Buffalo News.com:



The Buffalo Bills won two championships in the 1960s in large part because of a ferocious corps of linebackers led by Harry Jacobs.
Jacobs was known for his knowledge of the game, earning a reputation as an astute signal caller. But he also hit hard enough to be nicknamed "the baby-faced assassin."
Since leaving the game, Jacobs has struggled with the aftershocks.
Today, he talks about his fear in recent years of driving the 12 miles from his Hamburg home to downtown Buffalo.
"I wasn't sure I would remember how to get back," he said.
The two-time AFL All-Star played for 11 seasons, most of them with the Bills. He then retired to raise a family and start a consulting business in Western New York.
At age 74, Jacobs is again immersed in football, but this time as a plaintiff in one of 22 concussion-related lawsuits in six states brought against the NFL by more than 500 retired players and their spouses, including former Bills Joe DeLamielleure and Rob Johnson.
Jacobs has suffered bouts of anger and depression for decades. About five years ago he also began to struggle with such symptoms as headaches, dizziness, memory loss and fatigue.
Based on neurological tests, as well as the similar experiences of others, Jacobs came to the conclusion that the problems stemmed from repeated blows to the head during his playing days.
"I had a wonderful career, but I hit a lot of people, and they hit me," Jacobs said from his winter home in Florida.
Jacobs' lawsuit includes two other plaintiffs -- Tommy Mason and Jerome Barkum.
Mason, 72, a running back, played 11 years with three teams, including the Minnesota Vikings. Barkum, 61, played receiver and tight end for 12 years with the New York Jets.
They are suing the NFL in a class-action case on behalf of all former players. They contend that the league knew or should have
known concussions and repeated head impacts put players at risk of brain disorders later in life, and that the NFL fraudulently concealed information about the long-term risks.
Their suit, filed recently in a Manhattan federal court, seeks unspecified compensation and funding for medical monitoring of former players to detect cognitive problems.
Earlier this week, as the NFL prepared for the Super Bowl on Sunday, a U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation approved requests by lawyers for the league and the plaintiffs to consolidate cases in U.S. District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
It means the litigation can begin in earnest, bringing more attention to concussions than ever before.
"All I want is fairness for everyone -- the players, coaches, trainers, even the owners," said Jacobs. "Let's get all the stories out there and let the court decide."
The NFL has argued so far that the claims in the lawsuits should be addressed by arbitration because the league's collective bargaining agreement with the players covers disability issues.
The league also contends that players knew there was a risk of injury in playing football, and that there was no misconduct or effort to mislead players.
"The NFL has long made player safety a priority and continues to do so. Any allegation that the NFL intentionally sought to mislead players has no merit," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an emailed statement. "It stands in contrast to the league's actions to better protect players and advance the science and medical understanding of the management and treatment of concussions."

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