66 NFL Players to Opt Out of Season Due to Coronavirus

This year’s NFL season may look a lot different. A total of 66 players — nearly half of them linemen — say they won’t play this season because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to CBS News. The only teams who had no players opt out are the Steelers, the Falcons, and the Chargers.

“Those are not easy decisions to make as a player, especially when you love the game,” said Broncos safety Justin Simmons, who plans to play this season. “But family will always come first. And I’ve had a lot of difficult conversations with my wife and, yeah, it’s not ever going to be easy. Just like for the rest of America, it’s not easy on anyone right now.”

NFL players who are taking a medical opt out will receive a $350,000 stipend. Other players who are voluntarily opting out will be paid a $150,000 advance against future salaries. A total of 20 offensive linemen and 11 defensive linemen opted out before yesterday’s deadline.

No quarterbacks, kickers or punters opted out, but 11 wide receivers, eight linebackers, six cornerbacks, four running backs, and three tight ends and safeties also opted out. If a player chooses not to play after the deadline due to a medical issue, they would receive a stipend unless the player already exceeded the value of the stipend in the time he had played. 

There will not be any preseason games this year, according to ESPN. The upcoming season is scheduled to begin on September 10.