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NFL notes: Ravens' Joe Flacco to portray Colts legend Johnny Unitas in movie
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Joe Flacco as Johnny Unitas. The Ravens' quarterback says he'll play the part of Baltimore's greatest quarterback, former Colts star Unitas, in an upcoming movie titled "Unitas We Stand."

The movie is being co-produced by Joe Unitas, the late quarterback's son.

He tells WBAL-TV that Flacco will portray Unitas in scenes of the 1958 NFL championship game, in which Unitas led the Colts to victory over the New York Giants. The game at Yankee Stadium ended in sudden-death overtime and has been called the greatest NFL game ever played.

The decision to cast Flacco has drawn criticism from some members of the Colts great's family, ESPN.com reported Monday. Joe Unitas is the late quarterback's son from his second marriage. The QB's oldest son from his first marriage, John Unitas Jr., and his grandson J.C. Unitas don't want to see Flacco in the role.

John Unitas Jr. called Flacco a "goofball" in comments to USA Today Sports, saying he would like to see Peyton Manning get the call.

Judge scolds retirees

The $50 million settlement between the NFL and a group of retired players over publicity rights was given preliminary approval Monday in Minneapolis by a federal judge who likened some of the retirees to petulant children for complaining about the money now that it has been awarded.

The settlement of the class-action lawsuit was reached last month, but some of the plaintiffs opposed the agreement, arguing it's not good enough. U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson said in his order that the contentious nature of the case and the complexity and expense of further litigation "weigh heavily in favor" of final approval of the settlement, which could take place this summer.

"It is the height of disingenuousness for these same plaintiffs to now complain, like children denied dessert, that the settlement does not benefit enough the individuals who brought the lawsuit," Magnuson wrote.

Attorneys for Elvin Bethea, John Dryer, Jim Marshall, Dan Pastorini, Joe Senser and Ed White, six of the plaintiffs on the original complaint filed in Minneapolis in 2009, wrote to Magnuson last week to express concerns about the settlement. They also complained about the lack of a neutral party to guide administration of the funds.

Broncos RB signs deal

Restricted free agent running back Lance Ball signed his tender with the Denver Broncos, the team announced. The diminutive but powerful tailback rushed for 158 yards on 42 carries last season as he spelled Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno.

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