The families of debilitated former NFL players say the league is obstructing their access to an estimated $1 billion settlement over concussions by reflexively rejecting valid claims and bogging down the process with unreasonable demands.After a contentious five-year fight between the league and many former players who had accused the NFL of hiding the dangers of head trauma, the two sides agreed in 2015 to a settlement that covers nearly every former player for the next 65 years.Now the families and their lawyers describe a succession of roadblocks as they try to claim payouts, from as little as a few thousand dollars to potentially several million dollars, to help thousands of retired players left mentally infirm from years of hits and tackles on the league's fields.Of 1,400 claims filed so far, 140 have been approved, which legal experts say is startlingly low. The remaining claims are being evaluated or have been sent back to the players and their lawyers to amend. When the league agreed to the settlement several years ago, retired players were told that they could expect speedy payouts.But the NFL installed so many safeguards and trapdoors into the deal, lawyers for the players said, that in the eight months since the court-approved administrator of the settlement began accepting claims, many players have spent months scrounging for paperwork they did not think they had to keep, finding new doctors to confirm established diagnoses and lodging time-consuming appeals.The requests, the league said, are part of its efforts to deter potential fraud."This is not a settlement,'' said Andrew Stewart, a retired defensive lineman with Parkinson's disease who expected to receive nearly $3 million but has been offered less than a third of that amount. "This is about paying sick men as little as possible."AROUND THE LEAGUE: Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is in the NFL's concussion protocol after reporting symptoms of a possible head injury. … The Jets are sticking with Josh McCown as starting quarterback despite his struggles against the Bucs.