Brent Boyd, the former Viking whose phrase "Delay, Deny and Hope We Die" became a battle cry in the fight between disabled retirees and the NFL nearly two decades ago, will be among the first to submit a multimillion-dollar claim when the filing period under the new NFL concussion settlement opens Thursday.

On his 60th birthday, 31 years after multiple concussions and other injuries ended his seven-year career, Boyd will be seeking $2.02 million. That's what his attorneys will document he qualifies for under the concussion settlement that took effect on Jan. 7.

"I really don't know what to expect, but I have my doubts," said Boyd, a pioneer in concussion awareness and an outspoken advocate who has given three U.S. Congressional testimonies against the NFL's treatment of former players dealing with the long-term effects of brain trauma related to playing football.

"History tells me the NFL is going to do something to screw me. My attorneys are hopeful, but I don't have a lot of faith in the NFL."

Jim Mitchell, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney who represents Boyd, said he's more than hopeful. He said Boyd has documents proving he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's by a certified medical doctor at age 49. According to the settlement's monetary grid, players with at least five years of NFL service and an Alzheimer's diagnosis at age 49 are due $2.02 million.

"If they reject Brent's claim," said Mitchell, "then they'll reject everybody's claims. Nobody will get paid."

The settlements includes claims for six diagnoses — Lou Gehrig's Disease, Death with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Level 2 neurocognitive impairment (moderate dementia) and Level 1.5 neurocognitive impairment (early dementia) — and ages ranging from younger than 45 to 80 and older.

Compensation drops as players age. Under Alzheimer's, for example, a former player with at least five years of service would receive $3.5 million for a diagnosis under 45 and $50,000 for a diagnosis over 79.

Boyd is one of many former players to criticize the settlement for being lopsided in the league's favor, lasting for 65 years and guaranteeing $112.5 million to the attorneys representing the players.

Complaints include decreased compensation for older retirees, no compensation for those suffering from other serious postconcussion symptoms and no plan for compensating living players with CTE should medical advancements create an FDA-approved way of diagnosing CTE in a living brain.

"It's a horrible deal," Boyd said. "I just happen to be fortunate that I was on top of the concussion issue and got a diagnosis at a younger age. It's horrible to say that's what you'd call 'fortunate.' "

Still, Boyd, the founder of Dignity After Football, a retired players advocacy group, has been encouraging his peers to make sure they register for concussion settlement benefits before the Aug. 7 deadline. Those who don't do so won't be eligible for future compensation.

According to Christopher Seeger, co-lead counsel for the retired players, 9,940 of the 20,000 former players represented in the settlement were registered within a month of the Feb. 6 start date to sign up. He uses that number as an example of support for the settlement.

Doctors selected

Players who didn't have a qualified diagnosis before the settlement must now see a doctor who has been approved under terms of the settlement. That list of doctors will be released in June.

Critics of the settlement argue that the list of approved doctors will be favorable to the NFL, which was a common complaint when players were being denied by the NFL's disability board. Seeger said that won't be the case.

"This program was set up as an independent program, supervised ultimately by [U.S. District Judge Anita] Brody," said Seeger, referring to the judge who handled the settlement. "[Brody] has appointed two special masters that are also involved in that supervisory process. … The NFL has their role, but this is an independent program. … If [a doctor has] done prior work for the NFL, that is a basis for conflict and it is a basis to eliminate a provider."

Players who don't have a claim currently will be given a baseline assessment test after registration. Without a baseline test, future awards would be reduced by 10 percent.

Bob Stein, a local attorney and former NFL player, is skeptical of the settlement's impact on former players as a whole. Stein, who represents several former players, played for the University of Minnesota, won Super Bowl IV with the Kansas City Chiefs and played part of the 1975 season with the Vikings.

"There are so many land mines throughout the settlement that it's incredible," he said. "I'll be very happily surprised if more than a tiny handful of players do get paid. I predict what will happen is there will be a number of large payments made to the hand-picked, high-profile guys. Maybe Junior Seau's family, people like that, and it will be extremely well-publicized, and the public will assume that everyone is treated that way."

Full of regrets

In the spring of 1980, Boyd was a 23-year-old coming out of UCLA to play guard in the NFL or go on to law school. The Vikings drafted him 68th overall in the third round.

"Do I have any regrets?" Boyd asked. "Absolutely. I graduated UCLA with honors. I was accepted into law school. I chose the NFL, thinking I could go to law school later. By the time I got out of the NFL, I had so many concussions I didn't know about that I had no energy or motivation, the headaches, depression. All I could do was sleep."

Boyd, who lives in Reno, Nev., said it took 15 years before doctors began tracing his symptoms to concussions. He says he still endures postconcussion symptoms. He battled substance abuse, lost his car, his house and his first marriage.

"I couldn't hold down jobs," he said. "I got fired from job after job because I didn't have the energy or the memory to fulfill my duties.

"And I had custody of my son since he was 2. There were times we were homeless, times we were living in campgrounds in San Diego, living out of a car. So, hell yeah, I wish I had never played football."