Add Brandon Bolden to the list of New England Patriots opt-outs.
Bolden has chosen not to participate in the 2020 NFL season due to COVID-19 concerns, according to multiple reports Tuesday morning. Nick Stevens of WEEI was the first to report Bolden’s decision, which ESPN’s Mike Reiss later confirmed.
The veteran running back/special teams stalwart has played seven of his eight pro seasons in New England and is a favorite of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. He played in 15 games last season, carrying the ball 15 times for 68 yards and three touchdowns and catching nine passes for 111 yards and one score.
The Patriots had been set to return their entire 2019 running back group. That unit now consists of Sony Michel (who’s recovering from offseason foot surgery), James White, Rex Burkhead, 2019 third-round draft pick Damien Harris and undrafted rookie J.J. Taylor.
Linebacker Dont’a Hightower, right tackle Marcus Cannon, fullback Danny Vitale and guard Najee Toran also are opting out of this season, according to various reports. After reportedly re-signing UDFA wideout Will Hastings on Monday, the Patriots have four open spots on their 80-man roster.