By the time yesterday’s deadline came and went, 67 players decided to opt out of the 2020 season over concerns about COVID-19.
But there are still plenty of players with major concerns, and Lions linebacker Jamie Collins wishes they’d have had more time to come to grips with a situation that could be life-changing at a number of levels.
“It’s hard cause you got to live day-to-day,” Collins said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “It’s a day-to-day thing with this situation that we’re living in. Like, I don’t know how close it’s going to hit home, you get what I’m saying? Like my son might get it, sister, whoever. I don’t know whether my teammates, somebody close to me, I don’t know who might get it. I might get it and I might just be down bad, like real bad, sick as a dog. Can’t breathe, can’t do anything, like I don’t know. And then the next day I just might, ‘You know what, [I need to] sit down, take care of my body.’
“You never know the situation, so obviously if we had more time it’s good for the players, but we didn’t have much time.”
Initially, the plan was for there to be a one-week window after the signing of the new deal between the league and the players union Monday, but that deadline was pushed up to Thursday. Collins doesn’t understand why there was a deadline at all.
“That’s the problem,” he said. “We don’t know how close it’s going to hit home and we don’t know the impact it’s going to have when it do hit home, if it do. Lord bless us in ways that it don’t. But just if it does, we don’t know. . . .
“It’s just like anything, any situation, whatever it is, we don’t know. We can say how we’re going to handle the situation, but if the situation ain’t happen yet, we don’t really know how we’re going to respond. So I just felt like, we needed more time, we need more time and now that today’s the deadline still later down the road it’s still going to be a problem because there’s a lot of guys that it’s going to be —emotions are really going to come out if it hits home and affects people that are very close to them or somebody that’s near and dear to them. Like, people’s going to want to opt out regardless of the deadline. It’s not going to mean anything because it’s serious.”
There are still conditions under which a player can still opt out, if a family member dies or is hospitalized with COVID-19.
Collins said he considered opting out, but ultimately decided to go ahead. Three other Lions and a number of his former Patriots teammates did decide to opt out.