The Jacksonville Jaguars announced veteran defensive tackle Al Woods becomes the first player to opt out of playing the 2020 season because of COVID-19.
Yesterday, Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone told the media he had not talked to any player on the roster about the possibility of opting out of playing the 2020 season due to COVID-19. This morning that changed as defensive tackle Al Woods announced he would not play this season in a Jaguars uniform.
“While I was excited to join the Jaguars, I have made the tough decision, given the current status of COVID-19, to opt out for the 2020 season,” Woods said in a press release issued by the Jaguars public relations department.
“The health and safety of my family has always been the most important thing in my life. I love the game of football and will be rooting hard for my teammates this season, and I look forward to re-joining the Jaguars in 2021.”
Woods was one of the first players the Jacksonville Jaguars signed this offseason in free agency from Seattle and was expected to be a contributor in the middle of the defensive interior this season. The Jaguars’ front office signed Woods to help the team’s run defense that was a major issue last season.
The health of the players and the Jaguars organization and all other 31 NFL teams has been a topic since the league office took precautions this offseason to help make sure the spread of the coronavirus was alleviated as much as possible.
“As I mentioned to our media yesterday, we all understand the risk associated with COVID-19, and we will fully support any of our players and coaches that choose to opt out this season,” Marrone said in another statement via the team’s public relations department.
“It is important for every individual to feel comfortable and to believe that they’re doing what’s right for themselves and their family. As an organization, we respect Al’s decision and are fully understanding.”
Hamilton, a third-round draft pick out of Ohio State in April, was placed in the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday.