fbpx
Favorites

© 2022 BVM Sports. Best Version Media, LLC.

Favorites

On Football: NFL opt outs more prevalent than many expected

On Football: NFL opt outs more prevalent than many expected
On Football-Opting Out - AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Now we know why a key topic in talks between the NFL and the players’ union focused on opt outs.

Already, more than two dozen players have decided not to play the 2020 season. It’s certainly not about the money, because those opting out voluntarily are getting a $150,000 stipend, and those walking away due to pre-existing medical conditions get $350,000. In the NFL, that’s hardly a huge payout.

No, it’s all about what it should be about: health and safety. For players and their families.

New England linebacker Dont’a Hightower, maybe the most accomplished player to opt out, described his feelings in a social meeting statement.

“I do feel that it’s the best decision for my family at this time,” Hightower said. “I’m so grateful for the support of my teammates and coaches as well, and I will try to continue to lead and help as much as I can.

“2020 has been a challenging year for our world. I hope you can all continue to be a light in these dark times — more light and great times are ahead.”

For now, in these troubled times, opting out has been more popular in the NFL than anywhere else. Both MLB and the NBA had about a dozen players opt out of returning, while the NHL had half that. The biggest names included Buster Posey and David Price in baseball, Avery Bradley in basketball, Travis Hamonic and Mike Green in hockey.

Opt outs in the NFL alone appear headed beyond those numbers combined, which privately has surprised some league executives. In a sport built around contact, with rosters nearly equaling the size of the other three sports combined, and little to no thought of playing in a bubble, players deciding to skip the upcoming season seems plenty logical.

“We did know this was going to be a possibility,” players’ union vice president Ben Watson told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “That is why the NFLPA fought so hard to give guys the option. We are in times people don’t have answers for. Everybody has different situations — maybe contractually, maybe who they live with, guys who live out of the area and have to travel back. There are a variety of different reasons why, and I think we are going to find out more about that as time goes on.

“I am always in support of the men having the agency to decide for themselves what is best for them and their families. And specifically, when it comes to health, they have to make those decisions. I think the great thing is we have these protections in place and the abilities for the guys to say, ‘Look this is not for me and my family right now. I am going to sit this one out.′ And maybe (they) come back next year, and maybe not at all.”

Any player who opts out creates some decision making for team personnel departments. But even if it is a star, an irreplaceable starter, there should be no questioning the move.

“The opt-out option is a player’s choice and a player’s right, and we’ll respect that if a player decides to do that,” Broncos President Joe Ellis says. “That’s absolutely, 100 percent their right, inherently. I’ve got no objection to that at all and would be supportive of that, if that’s what somebody wants to do. That’s been going on around the league, as you’ve seen. It’s going around and around other sports leagues, as well.

“I had some good conversations … and they were very, very curious. I don’t want to say concerned, but they wanted to know what was going to happen and how it was going to be handled, things like that. It’s at the front of their minds.”

While players always rely on trainers and medical staff when it comes to injuries, the pandemic creates an entirely new set of issues. Recovery and rehab from, say, a knee injury, is a totally different, well, ballgame.

“(I) Wasn’t quite sure exactly what number would come in, but the biggest thing to consider is players taking care of both themselves, as well as their families, and each player has their own unique circumstance,” says Browns team physician Dr. James Voos. “We feel that it is our job to help to guide them through it, serve as a trusted healthcare adviser and allow them to ultimately make that decision themselves.

“I don’t think it is an inordinately high number of players, but I’m proud of the way the players and the teams have worked through this together so that we can responsibly make those decisions so that everyone feels good and safe about participating in the season.”

Or not.

___

AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton, Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney, Baseball Writer Ben Walker and Hockey Writers John Wawrow and Stephen Whyno, and Sports Writer Tom Withers contributed.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Get local sports news direct to your inbox

Originals

more
Notre Dame commit David Lally looking toward MLB future

Notre Dame commit David Lally looking toward MLB future

David Lally had a tremendous career at Grand Blanc that included a state title and…

Louisville commit Zion Rose concludes special junior season

Louisville commit Zion Rose concludes special junior season

Zion Rose is one of the top Class of 2023 players in Illinois and one…

Eric Brown’s journey from 0 offers to 2022 MLB Draft prospect

Eric Brown’s journey from 0 offers to 2022 MLB Draft prospect

Eric Brown put his faith in God and now he is a potential first-round MLB…

Mitchell Robinson back with New York Knicks: Instant reaction

Mitchell Robinson back with New York Knicks: Instant reaction

Mitchell Robinson is back with the Knicks after agreeing to a new contract. Here is…

Mark Johnson looks to climb the mountain again with Wisconsin

Mark Johnson looks to climb the mountain again with Wisconsin

Mark Johnson will look to add to his historic resume in his 20th season as…

Ryan Niblett ready to bring track speed to Texas football

Ryan Niblett ready to bring track speed to Texas football

Texas Longhorns’ four-star WR commit Ryan Niblett will team up in Austin with No. 1-ranked…

Future Badger Paytn Monticelli now a two-time Gatorade POY

Future Badger Paytn Monticelli now a two-time Gatorade POY

Two-time Gatorade Wisconsin Softball Player of the Year Paytn Monticelli is continuing her career with…

Bobby Portis returning to Bucks on four-year, $49 million deal

Bobby Portis returning to Bucks on four-year, $49 million deal

After being an integral part of the Bucks’ championship run in 2021 and having a…

Kevin Durant requests trade from Nets; Which team lands KD?

Kevin Durant requests trade from Nets; Which team lands KD?

Kevin Durant has requested out of Brooklyn to set up one of the biggest trades…

Jalen Brunson to the New York Knicks: Instant reaction

Jalen Brunson to the New York Knicks: Instant reaction

Jalen Brunson is finally a Knick. Here is everything you need to know:

Nick Van Exel is perfect for Trae Young, Dejounte Murray

Nick Van Exel is perfect for Trae Young, Dejounte Murray

Nick Van Exel, a fan favorite point guard from his time in the NBA and…

Tyler Freeman fulfilling his promise as Guardians prospect

Tyler Freeman fulfilling his promise as Guardians prospect

Cleveland Guardians shortstop prospect Tyler Freeman uses the motivation provided by his parents on his…

Ethan Davis brings elite TE versatility to Tennessee football

Ethan Davis brings elite TE versatility to Tennessee football

Tennessee's four-star TE commit Ethan Davis will team up with five-star QB Nico Iamaleava in…

Bayliss Flynn makes history with NIL deal

Bayliss Flynn makes history with NIL deal

Bayliss Flynn made history in Minnesota by becoming the first high school athlete to sign…

Bengals RB Trayveon Williams to teach at Texas A&M

Bengals RB Trayveon Williams to teach at Texas A&M

Cincinnati Bengals running back Trayveon Williams will be a co-professor of a course for the…

Francesco Capocci brings helping attitude to UNC baseball

Francesco Capocci brings helping attitude to UNC baseball

Francesco Capocci grew up with North Carolina as his dream school. Now he is a…

A.J. Tisdell joins Badgers’ Class of 2023 recruiting class

A.J. Tisdell joins Badgers’ Class of 2023 recruiting class

A.J. Tisdell can shine in Wisconsin under Jim Leonhard.

Ajani Sheppard: From one year starter to Old Dominion commit

Ajani Sheppard: From one year starter to Old Dominion commit

Iona Preparatory quarterback Ajani Sheppard rose from no Division I offers to more than a…

Northwestern commit Tyler Gant fueled by success on and off field

Northwestern commit Tyler Gant fueled by success on and off field

Three-star Class of 2023 defensive lineman Tyler Gant will look to continue his athletic and…

Nathan Rourke off to record-setting start for BC Lions

Nathan Rourke off to record-setting start for BC Lions

Taking over as the starting quarterback of the BC Lions, former Ohio University standout Nathan…