Cardinals, Former Gators OL Marcus Gilbert Opts Out of 2020 NFL Season

Demetrius Harvey

While college football players have contemplated opting out of this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, NFL players have continued to do so in waves.

Now, former Gators offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert, now with the Arizona Cardinals has decided to choose that option, belaying his 2020 season and will be ready for 2021, when the virus is not expected to be as impactful, if at all.

"After much thought and prayer, I have decided to Opt Out of the 2020 NFL Season," Gilbert said on social media. "While this decision was not easy for me, I felt it was the best decision due to my standing as a high-risk player with high-risk family members. I am grateful for the opportunities that have been afforded to me over many years in the NFL and I am looking forward to returning stronger than ever for the 2021 NFL Season.

"Furthermore, I am sending out my thoughts and prayers for the safety and success of my teammates and all those playing across the league this year."

Gilbert played for Urban Meyer's Gators from 2006-10 and was part of the team's BCS National Championship victory in 2009, along with an SEC title in 2008. The former Gators offensive tackle would go on to be selected in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers before being traded by the Steelers to the Arizona Cardinals in 2019.

During the last two seasons, Gilbert has been sidelined due to injuries, most recently a knee injury (ACL) which sidelined him for the entire 2019 season. This means Gilbert will have not played for two years before returning to the field in 2021. 

Gilbert is not the only former Gators football player to opt out this year. Defensive tackle Caleb Brantley, now with the Washington Football Team in the NFL, has also decided to forego the 2020 season, opting out along with now-Jacksonville Jaguars OLB/DE Lenrentee McCray.