Wide Receiver Marquise Lee Becomes Seventh Patriots Player to Opt Out

By , WEEI 93.7

Make that seven.

That's the number of Patriots who have now opted-out of the 2020 season due to concerns over COVID-19 after Marquise Lee announced he is joining the list.

The 28-year-old explained that his decision was based on concerns for his family, having welcomed a newborn daughter in February.

"This is a big sit-down process I had, with me and my significant other, as far as family goes. The risk factor in which we believe that's going out there, it just wasn't worth it in a sense. Just too many unknowns," Lee told ESPN.com.

"We knew New England, honestly, had a great system in place. But I told Coach [Bill Belichick], at the end of the day, I wouldn't be doing him justice going out there because I wouldn't be able to give him my all knowing my family was back at the house worrying about their situation."

A second-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Lee signed a one-year deal with the Patriots in April.

The former Jaguar was no lock to make the Patriots roster, but did represent an interesting veteran option for the group of receivers. He told ESPN.com his plan is still to play in 2021, with the Patriots holding his rights for when he returns.

"People who know my background and where I came from, and things like that, I didn't really have my pops in my life," he also said in the conversation with ESPN.com. "I never really had a real father figure besides coaches as I got older, This is my opportunity to be there for my daughter. I was hoping she could be there watching this season, but clearly she wasn't going to be able to do that. I felt like it was important to just spend this year with her, and get back to it next year. Football is going to be there at the end of the day."

Lee added, "There are a lot of other implications that deal with this issue too," he said. "Some of my [extended] family members are sick and things like that. At the end of the day, we weren't trying to close off family members for the year. We're just trying to find the safest way for the family, and this is it."

Other Patriots who have chosen to opt-out include Patrick Chung, Dont'a Hightower, Marcus Cannon, Brandon Bolden, Danny Vitale and Najee Toran.

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