Why key Patriots veterans opted into playing this NFL season


Nearly 70 NFL players – including a league-high eight Patriots -- opted not to play the 2020 season due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Those players – including New England stars Dont’a Hightower and Patrick Chung – made what were likely difficult decisions for themselves and their families.

But for Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, his decision regarding the 2020 season wasn’t difficult at all. Though he’s a father, Edelman is not married and doesn’t have a child that lives with him full-time.

“It was fairly easy for me because of my situation and what’s going on in my life right now,” Edelman said during a Monday morning video conference with the local media. “I can’t speak for other people. A lot of people are in a lot of different situations. You don’t think of anyone any differently for choosing not to play or to play. Everyone’s in a different particular little thing, if you are having a kid or some underlying something. I’m not a doctor and this isn’t something not to be scared about but I thought it would be best for me and my family if I were to go out and that’s what I chose to do.”

Veteran teammate Lawrence Guy also made the decision to play. A father of two young children, Guy’s personal decision came in part to the faith he has in both the Patriots organization and his teammates.

“Understanding that the team is doing the best they can to keep us safe. They are cleaning the facilities. And players holding each other accountable of trying to keep everybody else’s family safe is one of those things that you really know that’s going to happen here,” Guy said of getting to work this summer at Gillette Stadium. “So me knowing that, me having that trust in my teammates gave me the opportunity that I’m going to play this year. But I understand people that decided that they wanted to opt out. You can’t blame them for doing it. You just have to understand it’s one of these things, if you truly…that’s how you feel you needed to do it.”

While Edelman may have made a “fairly easy” decision to play, Guy made it clear that every single player at least considered the possibility of opting out. And for good reason.

“Everybody has to do what they have to do,” Guy said. “You have to give credit to the people who did opt out, they did it for a certain reason. They are looking out for their health, for their family’s health. Those are one of those conversations. I wanted to play football this year. So it was something that you always discuss. Every last one of the people in the locker room, you can’t say they didn’t discuss it because the concerns are there. There are always going to be concerns because it’s a virus that nobody has an answer for.”