PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The plan by the NFL to settle thousands of concussion lawsuits filed by former players has been upheld by a federal appeals court in Philadelphia. The decision released by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes almost a year after a revised deal was approved.

Critics of the settlement had argued that any deal should include future payments for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the brain decay found in dozens of former players after their deaths.

The news came as NFL teams opened their offseason preparations Monday and a number of teams announced signings.

The Seattle Seahawks say they have signed five players. The signings include cornerback Brandon Browner and center Patrick Lewis. Cooper Helfet, Steven Terrell and Mohammed Seisay also signed tenders with the team.

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