"I want this game to be around and be a great sport, a sport that my own boys will be able to play and enjoy all the benefits that football has," said Turner.
Turner and Mary Ann Easterling, widow of former Atlanta Falcon safety Ray Easterling, participated in a news teleconference this morning with lawyers who filed the proposed class-action.
Easterling, 62, despondent about his rapidly progressing dementia and the prospect of institutionalized care, committed suicide April 19.
"I firmly believe the FNL could have and should have done more to protect Ray," said Mary Ann Easterling, who broke down as she described her husband's post-career decline.
"Life with him in the first part of our marriage was wonderful," Easterling said. "He was the life of the party and always excited to get up and do his business. It was like a light went off, a switch was flipped. He no longer enjoyed being around his family or doing the things he once enjoyed."
Easterling's lawsuit was filed in federal court in Philadelphia last August on behalf of himself and his wife and joined by six other retired players including ex-Eagles quarterback Jim McMahon and offensive lineman Gerry Feehery, and four spouses.
The suit, the first of its kind, seeks NFL-funded medical monitoring for ex-players. The suit contends the NFL concealed the cumulative effect of multiple concussions from players while encouraging defenders like Easterling to use their helmets to stop opposing players.
Now that suit has been consolidated with more than 80 others filed nationwide for more than 2,000 former players in a proposed class-action before U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody in Philadelphia.
The lawsuit against the NFL comes as medical researchers are warning coaches from elementary school upward that there is no such thing as a mild concussion and that any head injury requires medical intervention and enforced rest.
Long after the heady days of professional football and cheering fans, many ex-NFL players are finding themselves crippled by neurological injuries that took years to develop and now prevent them from earning a living, the lawsuit contends.
The most dramatic indication of what some former players are living with was Easterling's suicide. It followed the Feb. 17, 2011 suicide of Dave Duerson, 50, a defensive back who was part of the Chicago Bears 1985 Super Bowl champion team. Two weeks later, on May 2, Junior Seau, 43, a former star linebacker for the San Diego Chargers and a likely future Hall of Famer, shot himself to death.
While NFL lawyers have declined to comment on the players lawsuits, the league is defending itself in court.
In NFL court filings, the league says the suits should be dismissed because they are preempted under federal labor law by the collecting bargaining agreement with players.
Among areas the agreement governs, the NFL contends, are player safety, medical care and "return-to-play" decisions on injured players.
The NFL also says the contract mandates arbitration to resolve player disputes and bars players from suing the NFL for any claim relating to any aspect of the NFL rules, its constitution and bylaws.
The ex-players' suits contend that NFL officials knew since the 1970s that a "history of multiple concussions has been associated with players' greater risk of future brain deficits."
Nevertheless, the suit continues, the NFL "turned a blind eye" to players being coached to use their helmeted heads to block, tackle, butt and spear opposing players.
The NFL's motive: to keep the "fan base excited and interested in the violence of this sport," the suit says.
The suit cites a 2009 scientific study the NFL commissioned - and later disputed - that found 6.1 percent of retired NFL players over 50 had been diagnosed with dementia or other memory problems compared to 1.2 percent of all U.S. men in the same age group.
Contact Joseph A. Slobodzian at 215-854-2985, email@example.com, or @joeslobo on Twitter.