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NFL opt outs: At least 65 players choose not to play

Melvin joins defensive tackle Al Woods and special-teams member Lerentee McCray as Jaguars' opt-outs. Other players to opt out on Thursday: --Rookie offensive lineman Lucas Niang, drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round in the April.

Reuters | Washington DC | Updated: 07-08-2020 02:53 IST | Created: 07-08-2020 02:52 IST
NFL opt outs: At least 65 players choose not to play
Representative Image Image Credit: Wikimedia

Jacksonville cornerback Rashaan Melvin became the third member of the Jaguars to opt out of the 2020 season, doing so Thursday before the 4 p.m. ET deadline. Melvin joined the Jaguars on a one-year, $1.75 million deal in March and was expected to compete for a starting cornerback spot. The 30-year-old, a six-year veteran, has played for the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions.

Last season in Detroit, he played in 13 games (12 starts) with 68 tackles and 11 passes defensed. Melvin joins defensive tackle Al Woods and special-teams member Lerentee McCray as Jaguars' opt-outs.

Other players to opt out on Thursday: --Rookie offensive lineman Lucas Niang, drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round in the April. He is the only 2020 draft pick who won't play.

--New York Jets wide receiver Josh Doctson, who signed with the team in February. Doctson, 27, was a first-round pick by Washington in 2016. --Tampa Bay tackle Brad Seaton, who qualifies for the higher-risk stipend, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

--Guard Malcolm Pridgeon of the Cleveland Browns, who became the fifth member of the team who won't play. --San Francisco 49ers tackle Shon Coleman, who is a cancer survivor and could qualify for the higher-risk stipend. He spent the 2019 season on injured reserve

In all, 65 players were known to accept the NFL's option not to play amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the majority being offensive and defensive linemen. Eight members of the New England Patriots opted out. One who was heavily considering opting out but didn't was Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White, who took to Twitter to blast people who criticized him for even thinking about it.

"Crazy that me choosing my family's wellbeing over a game comes with so called fans attacking and questioning me and saying I'm selfish," White wrote. "No you guys are selfish for thinking that football is bigger than life. Oh by the way my girl's grandfather passed from COVID. U understand now?" Players considered high risk for COVID-19 will receive a $350,000 stipend and an accrued NFL season if they decide to opt out. Players without risk can receive $150,000, according to the agreement approved last week by the league and the NFL Players Association, although the voluntary opt-out stipend is solely an advance toward future salary. The stipend is not available to undrafted rookies.


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