Marquise Goodwin Remains Only Eagles Player to Skip 2020 as Deadline Passes
The Eagles are doing something right when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The deadline for opting out of the 2020 season came and went Thursday with no Philadelphia players making the last-minute decision.
That means veteran receiver Marquise Goodwin is the only Eagles player to decide not to play due to the coronavirus.
League-wide a total of 66 players opted-out and the tally on deadline day was five: New York Jets receiver Josh Doctson, Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Lucas Niang, Tampa Bay offensive tackle Brad Seaton, Jacksonville cornerback Rashaan Melvin, and Cleveland offensive guard Malcolm Pridgeon.
In a 32-team league, that means the average per team was just over two players. New England has the most opt-outs with eight and only three teams weren’t hit at all: Atlanta Falcons, L.A. Chargers, and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Among the most noteworthy names to opt-out was three Patriots, LB Dont’a Hightower, S Patrick Chung, and OT Marcus Cannon, Chiefs RB Damien Williams, Broncos RT Ja’Waun James, Bears DT Eddie Goldman, Vikings DT Michael Pierce, and Jets LB C.J. Mosley.
For Eagles star defensive tackle Fletcher Cox opting-out was never seriously considered.
“I knew I was playing,” Cox said earlier this week via Zoom. “I love this game so much, and I knew that from talking to guys around this organization and just feeling safe was the biggest thing, and here, I feel safe. So I knew I was going to play."
Cox called the NovaCare Complex perhaps the safest place in Philadelphia.
To date, the Eagles have had two high-profile members of the organization test positive - star right tackle Lane Johnson and head coach Doug Pederson - and it's believed both contracted the virus outside the facility.
Cox's defensive teammate Rodney McLeod discussed potentially sitting out with his wife it never turned serious once the veteran safety saw the protocols at the facility.
“It was a conversation I had about it with my wife,” said McLeod. “I think looking at all the protocols put in place here, we felt confident in the fact that this is one of the safer environments that you can probably be in, within these walls.”
McLeod’s new running mate on the back end, Jalen Mills, went a little further discussing why so many of the Eagles players feel comfortable moving forward.
“The rookies being here, veteran guys itching to get into the building, but we have to pass a certain amount of (COVID-19 tests), just going through the drive-through, driving past the building, can’t even walk on,” he said. “Now, we get tested every day, you’re getting your temperature scanned, we’re getting a whole clean box where you have Lysol wipes, Lysol sprays, you’re getting hand sanitizer, your own tissue, your own everything.
“Also our beeper trackers knowing that is something was to happen and somebody was to come down with something you can track who that person was closest to throughout the day so now maybe you can give them an extra test to make sure they didn’t come down with anything. That just lets you know how much they’re keeping track of everybody and wiping down everything makes you feel safe when you’re in the building for sure.”
Opt-outs are no longer permitted unless a player qualifies for one of these two exemptions moving forward, either a new diagnosis revealing the player has a high-risk condition or if a player’s family member passes away or is hospitalized, or otherwise moved to a medical facility because of COVID-19 or related condition.
John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every Monday and Friday on SIRIUSXM’s Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes, and every Tuesday and Thursday with Eytan Shander on SBNation Radio. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
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