Eight New England Patriots players chose to opt out of the 2020 NFL season because of concerns related to COVID-19.
On Monday, two who decided to play — wide receiver Julian Edelman and defensive tackle Lawrence Guy — explained why.
“It was fairly easy for me because of my situation and what’s going on in my life right now,” Edelman said in a video conference with reporters. “I can’t speak for other people. A lot people are in a lot of different situations, so you don’t think of anyone differently for choosing not to play or to play. Everyone’s in a different particular little thing — if you’re having a kid or some underlying this, some that.
“I’m not a doctor, and this isn’t something not to be scared about. But I thought it would be best for me and my family if I were to go out, and that’s what I chose to do.”
Guy said he did discuss potentially opting out but ultimately felt comfortable with the protocols the NFL and the Patriots have put in place to protect players from COVID-19. Like Edelman, the veteran D-lineman said he fully respects his teammates who chose not to play.
“Everybody has to do what they’ve got to do,” Guy said. “You have to give credit to people that did opt out. They opted out for a certain reason. They’re looking out for their health and their family’s health. … I wanted to play football this year, (but) it was something that you always discuss. Every last one of the people in the locker room, you can’t say they didn’t discuss it, because the concerns are there.
“There’s always going to be concerns, because this is a virus that nobody has the answer for. So that is there. But (we’re) understanding that the team is doing the best they can to keep us safe. They’re cleaning the facilities. And players holding each other accountable of trying to keep everybody else’s family safe is one of those things that you really know is going to happen here. So me knowing that and me having that trust in my teammates gave me the opportunity to say, ‘Hey, I’m going to play this year.’
“But I understand people that decided they wanted to opt out. That’s part of their reasons they did it, and you can’t blame them for doing it.”
Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower, safety Patrick Chung, offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, running back Brandon Bolden, tight end Matt LaCosse, receiver Marqise Lee, fullback Danny Vitale and guard Najee Toran all opted out. New England’s eight opt-outs were the most by any NFL team.