After signing a one-year, $1.05 million deal with the 49ers last March, wide receiver Travis Benjamin elected to opt out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns.
At the time of his decision in August, he was only a few weeks removed from losing his grandmother to COVID-19. In an interview with Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle, Benjamin said he felt “overwhelmed by the uncertainty” that was the budding season at the time. He wanted the comfort of being around his family.
After watching things from afar, Benjamin doesn’t regret his decision.
“I’ve been at peace with it,” Benjamin said. “But there were times on certain Sundays where I’d see somebody make a play and I’d be kind of antsy about it. In the back of your mind, ‘Oh, that could have been me. If I would have played, I would have made that play. If I would have played, I would have blocked for this guy. If I would have played, I would have been in a situation where I could have made the team better.'”
Benjamin said head coach Kyle Shanahan, General Manager John Lynch, and wide receivers coach Wes Welker were all supportive of his decision to opt out. And now he has a chance to make the 49ers roster in 2021.
“Everyone loves speed,” Benjamin said. “So as long as you can still run and compete with your speed, you’ll have an opportunity to play.”
Benjamin has 208 receptions for 3,143 yards with 19 touchdowns in 101 games from 2012-2019 with the Browns and Chargers. But he played only five contests in 2019, making six receptions for 30 yards.