Steelers have no COVID-19 opt-outs, will play 2020 with full roster

The NFL’s deadline for players to opt-out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic passed this week, and the Steelers came out on the other side with no players choosing to skip the season.

Vince Williams, speaking to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, attributes this to the way the organization has been handling the issue:

“I think that the Steelers did a great job of providing us — I know, personally — the Steelers have provided us with a safe environment,” linebacker Vince Williams said during a video conference call with media Wednesday. “But (opting out) is a decision every man has got to make for himself.”

The Tribune-Review reports further that while the Steelers have no opt-outs, the New England Patriots have eight, in addition to losing former franchise quarterback Tom Brady to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this off-season.

ESPN reported on June 24 that Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif became the first player to opt out, citing his off-season medical work:

Duvernay-Tardif, 29, is a medical school graduate from McGill University in Canada, and he had been assisting as an orderly in a long-term care facility in the Montreal area during the coronavirus pandemic.

In his social media post, he called the decision one of the most difficult of his life.

“Being at the frontline during this offseason has given me a different perspective on this pandemic and the stress it puts on individuals and our healthcare system,” he wrote. “I cannot allow myself to potentially transmit the virus in our communities simply to play the sport that I love. If I am to take risks, I will do it caring for patients.”

CBS Sports has released a list of all players who have opted out, presented here by Steelers 2020 opponent:



OT Andre Smith
WR De’Anthony Thomas


DT Andrew Billings
OT Drake Dorbeck
OG Drew Forbes
OG Colby Gossett
OG Malcolm Pridgeon


OT Isaiah Prince
DL Josh Tupou



CB Sam Beal
WR Da’Mari Scott
OT Nate Solder


OT Ja’Wuan James

DL Kyle Peko


DL Eddie Vanderdoes


OT Anthony McKinney


WR Marquise Goodwin


CB Maurice Canady
WR Stephen Guidry
FB Jamize Olawale


LB Lerentee McCray
CB Rashaan Melvin
DL Al Woods


DL Caleb Brantley
LB Josh Harvey-Clemons


CB E.J. Gaines
DL Star Lotulelei


S Rolan Milligan
LB Skai Moore

S Marvell Tell

Next: Does Antonio Brown already have a deal waiting?

The league has also specified that, while the deadline to opt out as a cautionary measure has passed, players may opt out later in the season in the event of a family member’s illness.


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