We all knew it was just a matter of time before the first Detroit Lions player (or players) decided to opt-out of the 2020 NFL season due to concerns regarding COVID-19 and now that has come to fruition.
According to reports, Lions DT John Atkins has opted out of the 2020 season.
In 2019, Atkins had 20 tackles in 12 games for the Lions.
Lions DT John Atkins has opted out, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 29, 2020
Detroit Lions opt to split squad for 2020 training camp
NFL teams had until Tuesday to either cut their rosters down to 80 players or to keep 90 players and split their squad for training camp.
Well, business has closed for the day and the Detroit Lions have opted to keep the 90 players they have on their roster and to split the squad.
One group will consist mostly of rookies and other first-year players, although quarterbacks and injured players are also allowed to join that squad. The other group will be the veteran players.
The upside of Detroit’s choice is obvious. Roster cuts are always tough, especially for players drafted in the late rounds or not at all. The Lions have signed seven undrafted rookies, including tight end Hunter Bryant (Washington), safety Jeremiah Dinson (Auburn), safety Jalen Elliott (Notre Dame), safety Bobby Price (Norfolk State), fullback Luke Sellers (South Dakota State), punter Arryn Siposs (Auburn) and long snapper Steven Wirtel (Iowa State). And making decisions on who stays and who goes before ever seeing some of these guys strap on a shoulder pad is exceedingly difficult.
But the tradeoff to keeping all 90 players is Detroit’s rookies won’t be eligible to work with veterans until the roster is cut to 80 players. That must happen by Aug. 16.
It is important to note that for any players to enter the building and participate in training camp, they must first past three COVID-19 tests.
Nation, was keeping 90 players the right move for the Lions, or would it have been better to get the rookies working with the full roster right from the start of camp?