Story highlights

NEW: NFL lawyer says the remarks are consistent with the league's stance and won't affect a settlement agreement

NFL VP cites research establishing CTE link and says the question now is "where do we go from here with that information"

An attorney for some former players says that "directly contradicts" NFL position in lawsuit

CNN  — 

For the first time, the National Football League has publicly acknowledged a connection between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the brain disorder better known as CTE.

Jeff Miller, the NFL’s senior vice president of health and safety policy, was part of a round-table discussion with the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Monday when Rep. Jan Schakowsky asked him directly: “Mr. Miller, do you think there is a link between football and degenerative brain disorders like CTE?”

“The answer to that question is certainly yes,” Miller said.

The NFL issued a statement on Tuesday, saying “The comments made by Jeff Miller yesterday accurately reflect the view of the NFL.”

Why now for the NFL?

For years, the NFL has avoided saying whether football was related to CTE and deferred to the medical community’s findings on the matter.

So why the change now?