By Annie Ross

The NFL dodged a big bullet today in federal appeals court in Philly.

An appellate court affirmed the landmark legal settlement that compels the National Football League to pay potentially thousands of retired players (like former Eagles QB Jim McMahon, above) up to $5 million for hiding the dangers of repeated head hits on the field.

In doing so, the court rejected a claim by some players that the deal did not go far enough to compensate players.

The decision, in a 69-page ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, came almost a year after a district court judge in Philly approved the deal over the objections of some players who argued the terms were too restrictive and would not take care of many players who develop neurological problems over time.

The appellate judges, sitting in Philly, acknowledged the objectors’ points but turned them aside because they found the settlement was for the greater good of all players.

“They risk making the perfect the enemy of the good,’’ the court said of the players objecting that the settlement was too restrictive. “This settlement will provide nearly $1 billion in value to the class of retired players. It is a testament to the players, researchers and advocates who have worked to expose the true human costs of a sport so many love. Though not perfect, it is fair.”

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