The first phase of NFL training camp is finished, and players still have the option of deciding to opt-out of playing the season out of concern due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The final opt-out date deadline is scheduled for August 4 at the earliest, a week after the signing for the formal side agreement documenting changes to the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
And while only one Detroit Lions player has decided to opt out so far, there could be more coming. And according to head coach Matt Patricia, he has nothing but respect for those decisions being made by his players.
“You know, that’s a hard one for me to answer just because those conversations are really private when people are talking about their own personal situations whether it’s health or family-related or, you know, other factors that may weigh on them,” Patricia said during a Zoom chat with reporters on Friday. “I think, again, it’s another great point to exactly what we were talking about, about how real this virus is and how important it is for everybody to stay safe and certainly from the standpoint of making sure we take care of everybody, including our family. And certainly, our families are the most important thing, and I know a lot of the time in football that gets lost, (but) I think about it every single day.
“My wife and my kids, and a lot of our guys are in the same situations or whether it’s their parents or grandparents or whatever it might be, so 100% just have to respect everybody’s feelings and opinions on trying to stay as safe as possible. Absolutely.”
As of Friday, the Lions have seven players on their COVID-19 list: cornerback Justin Coleman, tight end Isaac Nauta, receiver Kenny Golladay, tight end T.J. Hockenson, corner Amani Oruwariye, safety Jalen Elliott and Aussie rules punter Arryn Siposs.
– – Quotes via Benjamin Raven of MLive Link – –