NFL official links football, CTE; could it affect $1B deal?

FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2016 file photo, NFL Senior Vice President of Health and Safety Policy Jeff Miller speaks during an NFL health and safety news conference in San Francisco. An NFL official has acknowledged a link between football and the brain disease CTE for the first time. Miller, the NFL's senior vice president for health and safety, spoke about the connection during an appearance Monday, March 14, 2016, at a congressional committee's round table discussion about concussions. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Critics of the NFL's proposed $1 billion plan to settle concussion claims say a league official's acknowledgement of a link between football and the brain disease CTE is a game changer.

A federal appeals court in Philadelphia is weighing a challenge to the settlement that would exclude future cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. The pending deal would instead pay for prior deaths involving CTE and for illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Critics want the plan expanded to include future CTE cases.

NFL senior vice president Jeff Miller told a congressional panel Monday that brain research on former NFL players ''certainly'' shows a link between football and CTE.

The NFL has long argued otherwise.

Lawyer Steven Molo urged the court Tuesday to expand the settlement based on Miller's comments.