Jaguars' Josh Allen Discusses Decision to Bypass Opt Out and Play in 2020

John Shipley

As players throughout the entire NFL mull the decision to opt out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, one Jacksonville Jaguars star said Wednesday he would be playing in 2020 after thinking about the move. 

Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen said during a virtual press conference on Wednesday that some thought had been put into opting out for the 2020 season, but the second-year Pro Bowler's wife, Kaitlyn, helped encourage him to play. Allen has two young children at home, including a son that was born in March.

"I'd be lying to you if I said I didn't," Allen said Wednesday when asked if he had any considerations in the past about opting out. "It's always -- family is first, man. I don't want to put my family in jeopardy of any harm that I [could] bring to them, so that was always something that I kept close to me."

Allen went on to say that his wife helped not only encourage him to play during the 2020 season but has helped build a great support system at home to continue to help him. 

"But Kait, my wife, she really encouraged me, you know, to keep playing football this year because she knows what I am striving for in my career. And she is real helpful and she is doing her best to keep the kids inside the house and keep them busy until I get home, and then I got to take over," Allen said. 

"So you know I have a great support system, great support staff at my house, and I am just here to stay safe and [I] hope everybody and my teammates do the same thing ."

Allen is set to be one of Jacksonville's most important players after leading the team in sacks with 10.5 last season, a mark that also led all NFL rookies and set a Jaguars rookie record. Allen earned a Pro Bowl honor in his first season, becoming the first Jaguars rookie to do so. 

Two Jaguars have opted out thus far this season, with each being made official in the last week. Veteran nose tackle Al Woods was the first Jaguars player to make the decision not to play in 2020, while defensive end and special teamer Lerentee McCray made his own announcement on Saturday. Players have until Thursday at 4 p.m. to opt out, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. 

“While I was excited to join the Jaguars, I have made the tough decision, given the current status of COVID-19, to opt out for the 2020 season," Woods said in a statement released by the team last week.

"The health and safety of my family has always been the most important thing in my life. I love the game of football and will be rooting hard for my teammates this season, and I look forward to re-joining the Jaguars in 2021.”

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