US appeals court revives drug lawsuit by players against NFL

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A U.S. appeals court has revived a lawsuit against the NFL by former players who claim the league illegally plied them with powerful prescription painkillers to keep them on the field.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the lawsuit is not pre-empted or superseded by labor agreements between players and teams. The NFL had argued that the players failed to exhaust the grievance procedures in those agreements.

The ruling overturned a lower court decision that dismissed the lawsuit.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league still expects the lawsuit to be thrown out.

The players say the NFL did not warn them about the long-term consequences of the drugs, which they say have left them with chronic health problems.

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