BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — On Saturday, New England Patriots' wide receiver Marqise Lee became the seventh member of the team to opt out of the upcoming NFL season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As ESPN reports, Lee became a first-time father in February, shortly after he was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars and signed a one-year contract with the Patriots.
Lee told ESPN that protecting his daughter was at the core of his decision to not play football again until at least 2021.
"I told Coach [Bill Belichick], at the end of the day, I wouldn't be doing him justice going out there, because I wouldn't be able to give him my all, knowing my family was back at the house worrying about their situation," Lee told ESPN.
Six other Patriots have also announced they will not be playing in the 2020 season; starting right tackle Marcus Cannon, starting safety Patrick Chung, starting linebacker Dont'a Hightower, fullback Danny Vitale, core special-teams player Brandon Bolden, and practice squad offensive lineman Najee Toran.
According to CBS Sports, Belichick said he respects his players and their decisions to opt out of the season during the pandemic.
"I respect all of the players on our team," said Belickick. "We all have to make decisions and I talked to those guys and they explained their situations. They had to make a decision that was best for them, and I totally respect and support it 100 percent."
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