Undrafted Rookie Opts Out Over COVID Concerns

Mike Hogan

It didn’t take long for reality to hit the Tennessee Titans.

As the coronavirus pandemic ravages the country, a growing number of NFL players have already decided that the risks of playing the 2020 season aren’t worth it.

Tackle Anthony McKinney is one of those players. Head coach Mike Vrabel confirmed during a video press conference Tuesday that McKinney, an undrafted rookie out of TCU, was the first – and thus far only – Titans player to exercise that option, for reasons that have not yet been disclosed.

“We had that conversation with him. He had our full support,” Vrabel, who enters his third training camp with the team, said. “We’re in the process of getting him where he needs to be, which is with his family.”

McKinney, one of 14 undrafted free agents who signed with Tennessee this year, started 20 games at left tackle for the Horned Frogs and was part of an offense that averaged 204 rushing yards per game, third best in the Big 12, last fall.

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, undrafted rookies who decide to voluntarily opt out will not be eligible to receive the $150,000 salary advance. McKinney will receive his $12.5K signing bonus.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 14 players across the NFL are known to have voluntarily opted out . Three others did so as “high-risk” opt-outs. Five more did so for unspecified reasons. Players who are considered high-risk opt outs will receive a $350,000 salary advance.

More players are expected to do the same in the coming days. The deadline to opt out is Aug. 3.

For now, it is unclear if any other Titans will join McKinney. In the event that more do, the players have Vrabel’s support and understanding as a season full of risk and uncertainty begins.

“As far as future players, I have not heard and have not talked to any of them,” Vrabel said. “We’ll wait until our players make the decision that’s in the best interest for them and their family before we proceed.”

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