Jason McCourty Expresses Concerns Over Cancelling Preseason Games

Sarah Jacobs

Although NFL preseason games can seem uneventful to fans, as they feature players whose names are not well known and who may not even make the team, they are important for coaches to make the hard decisions regarding the 53-man roster. 

Many forget that that's how former New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler made the team, and we all know how that worked out. Same goes for players like J.C. Jackson and Jonathan Jones, who are now coveted defensive backs in New England after going undrafted. Their chances may have never come to make the roster had it not been for preseason play.  

With the COVID-19 still an omnipresent health concern, the NFL has cancelled the first and fourth preseason games. Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty expressed his concerns about the cancellations on his podcast "Double Coverage" with brother and teammate, Devin. 

“For me, just assuming things are flowing, any time you reduce preseason games, I know for some people you look at it and it’s like, ‘Hey, no one goes to those games, they’re not as important, blah, blah, blah,' McCourty said. "But, at the same time, some of your favorite players now were guys that had to go out there and make a name for themselves in those preseason games." 

He continued to say that it "hurts" to see those games get cancelled because it will affect the roster, and who makes what team. 

Devin McCourty on the other hand doesn't see reducing the preseason as a problem, asking "Does it matter?" Health and playing a full season are his more prevalent concerns. 

At the end of the day, Jason McCourty recognized that the decision was a direct result over concerns of player safety, and ensuring the possibility of an actual season. 

"But like you said, at this point, it’s just like what is the safest way to get back on the field and to actually have a season?" McCourty asked. "If that means we’re reducing preseason, whatever the case is, obviously we have to do what we need to do.”

On July 3 the NFLPA voted in favor of cancelling all preseason games, according to ESPN's Dan Graziano. They are now trying to convince the NFL that this is the best course of action to take, as it will allow a longer ramp-up period for players and coaches to accumulate themselves since they did not get in any physical work together during the offseason because of the pandemic. 

The league is also considering allowing players to sit out the 2020 with no penalty if they have concerns due to COVID-19. The NBA and MLB, who are both slated to begin their seasons later this month, have had some of their players choose to sit out the 2020 season.