Chiefs RB Damien Williams Opts Out of 2020 NFL Season

Joshua Brisco

Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams has elected to opt out of the 2020 NFL season due to concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Williams, the Chiefs' starting running back for the team's Super Bowl 54 victory and playoff run, was likely to split significant reps at running back, presumably starting the offseason ahead of rookie running back and first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

Chiefs GM Brett Veach addressed Williams' decision in a statement posted by the Chiefs' Twitter account.

"As an organization, we certainly understand and respect Damien’s choice, knowing it was made in the best interest of his family," Veach said. "He means a lot to our football team as a player and a person, and we’re going to miss having him around this season.”

This makes Williams the second Chiefs player to opt out of the season, following guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif's decision late last week.

While Williams and Edwards-Helaire figured to highlight the Chiefs' running back position, the Chiefs retain some familiar depth at the position, plus a new addition from this offseason.

Darwin Thompson, a sixth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, will be entering his second season with the team, and Darrel Williams, a former LSU back and UDFA acquisition in 2018, will be entering year three. Darrel Williams had a solid stretch in 2019 before a season-ending injury, and Thompson got limited looks in 2019.

The Chiefs also added former Oakland Raiders running back DeAndre Washington in April, bringing a new back into the fold.

Even with those names at RB, the Chiefs' biggest sure-thing at the position is now out of the picture. Williams earned his role in the offense due to his route-running, sure hands, excellent pass-blocking, and the confidence of head coach Andy Reid. Edwards-Helaire and the rest of the group will have to prove that they're capable of producing the same way in 2020.

Thursday Update: Williams has discussed his reason for opting out of the 2020 season, as he is choosing to be with his mother, who was diagnosed with stage-four cancer.

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Comments (3)
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Training camp has barely started and the shock of hearing Payoff-Damien opting out hasn't had time to wear off. So my thoughts today are highly hypothetical. But I can see Darry Williams getting the #1 RB spot and likely starting game one. He has the game experience and without even a single preseason game, I just don't see Andy throwing his star 1st Round Pick under the bus so quickly. I mean, look what happened the last time he started a rookie in game #1, the kid Fumbled the Ball on his first carry! Granted, the kid did go on to break every rookie rushing record that day and the immediate games that followed, but he still Fumbled the Ball! I don't see Andy wanting to relieve that nightmare again!

Joshua Brisco
Joshua Brisco


Thoughts, Chiefs fans? I'm not here to tell players they have to play through the pandemic, and I think the Chiefs will be fine - if not a bit young - at the RB position.