Tom Brady's left tackle considering not playing in 2020


While Tom Brady is diving head-first into his new season with his new team despite all the COVID-19 concerns, at least one key member of his offensive unit is having second thoughts about playing in 2020.

Donovan Smith, the Buccaneers' left tackle -- who is slated to make $14.5 million this coming season -- took to Instagram Friday to express his reluctance about playing.

@nfl @nflpa To whom it may concern: With the start of the 2020 NFL season fast approaching, many thoughts and questions roam my mind as I’m sure it does for many of my fellow “coworkers” across the league. The unfortunate events of the COVID-19 pandemic have put a halt to a lot of things. Football is not one. To continue discussing the many UNKNOWNS do not give me the comfort. Risking my health as well as my family’s health does not seem like a risk worth taking. With my first child due in 3 weeks, I can’t help but think about how will I be able to go to work and take proper precautions around 80+ people everyday to then go home to be with my newborn daughter. How can a sport that requires physical contact on every snap and transferral of all types of bodily fluid EVERY SINGLE PLAY practice safe social distancing? How can I make sure that I don’t bring COVID-19 back to my household? Yes, we can get tested everyday, but if it takes 24 hours to get my results, how can I know each day that I am not spreading this virus or contracting it? The reoccurring issue here is how? There are too many “hows” that have yet to be answered to ease player concerns and ensure the safety of not only myself, but also my family. I just can’t imagine how the game will be the same during these unprecedented times. Now to hear that 35% of my paycheck may be withheld while we are out sacrificing our health and wellness for the joy and entertainment of everyone else who will be safe at home in front of their TVs? Something isn’t right here. That should at LEAST warrant a pay raise due to the risk, not a cut. I am not a lab rat or guinea pig to test theories on. I am a man, a son, brother, soon to be father, and I deserve to be safe at work.

A post shared by Donovan Smith (@dsmith_76) on Jul 10, 2020 at 6:37am PDT

Smith joins a growing list of NFL players who are expressing concerns over conducting a 2020 season in the middle of the current pandemic.

The NFL has already cut the preseason schedule to two games, with the NFLPA lobbying to eliminate all of the exhibition games. There have also been a myriad of other regulations and protocols surfaced, some of which have been accepted with others met by skepticism.

This is a perfect example of NFL thinking in a nutshell. Players can go engage in a full contact game and do it safely. However, it is deemed unsafe for them to exchange jerseys after said game. ------

— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) July 9, 2020

As for the Bucs' depth chart, if Smith doesn't play the second-string left tackle right now is identified as Brad Seaton, with the 13th overall pick in this year's NFL Draft Tristan Wirfs slotted in to play right tackle.