Broncos DL Kyle Peko Opts Out of 2020 Season Due to COVID-19 Concerns, per Report
The Denver Broncos veterans will report to training camp on this day. One such vet who won't be joining his teammates is defensive lineman Kyle Peko.
Peko is exercising his prerogative under the NFL's new CBA amendments to opt out of the 2020 season because of COVID-19 concerns.
While he might not be a star in Denver, or even a starter, fans are trying to understand why Peko opted out. KUSA's Mike Klis provided some context.
At this point last year, Peko had left the Buffalo Bills’ training camp to be with his wife Giuliana who was battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The couple later said she was cancer-free.
Based on his age relative health as a professional athlete, Peko himself might not be considered high-risk for COVID-19. But his wife's immune system might still be compromised in the wake of her battle with cancer and understandably, Peko isn't willing to roll the dice on the chance of possibly exposing her to the virus.
It's a consideration many Americans can sympathize with. Every American has family members who are either high-risk with co-morbidity risks or in that age demographic (age-65 or older) that puts them in the same category.
For Peko, it hits even closer to home because of his wife. The good news for Peko is that his contract status this year will simply be paused and resumed in 2021.
If he is approved as 'high-risk', Peko will be given a $350,000 stipend, per the new CBA Amendments, while he sits out the season. If he isn't approved, he'll receive $150,000 as a stipend.
Peko's exit leaves the Broncos with one less body to back up Mike Purcell at nose tackle, especially in the wake of the team's decision to release Joel Heath on Monday. The team has several intriguing options along the defensive line, but they're all ends, not tackles.
Peko is a fifth-year player and originally entered the NFL in Denver back in 2016 as a college free agent out of Oregon State. He has bounced back and forth from the practice squad to the active roster and even spent some time in Buffalo. He has appeared in 13 NFL games.
With the roster sitting at 81 players now, the Broncos have to make one more cut to get to 80 before the 2 pm deadline on Tuesday. Check back at Mile High Huddle for updates.