Dozens of former players joining a lawsuit against the NFL say teams kept handing out powerful painkillers and other drugs with few - if any- safeguards as recently as 2012 to keep players on the field.
That extends by four years the time frame for similar claims made by hundreds of former players in the original complaint, and could open the door to a criminal investigation.
The federal Drug Enforcement Administration is beginning to look into accusations contained in the original lawsuit - filed in May and covering the years 1968-2008. The new allegations could dramatically expand the investigation's scope, as well as add a sense of urgency. Any violation of federal drug laws after 2009 would not be subject to the five-year statute of limitations.

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