By: Hays Carlyon
The Jaguars announced Friday that first-year defensive tackle Al Woods has elected to opt out of the 2020 season because of the coronavirus.
The 33-year-old Woods is entering his 11th season. He signed a one-year, $2.5-million contract with the Jaguars in March. By opting out, Woods’ contract will pause and he will receive a $150,000 stipend from the NFL.
Woods released this statement through the team.
“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. 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.”
Jaguars coach Doug Marrone met with reporters on Thursday and indicated that no player had contacted him about opting out. He did say that could change. Friday it did, leaving the rebuilding Jaguars run defense without a key contributor.
Marrone also released a statement Friday voicing his support for Woods.
“As I mentioned to our media yesterday, we all understand the risk associated with COVID-19, and we will fully support any of our players and coaches that choose to opt out this season. It is important for every individual to feel comfortable and to believe that they’re doing what’s right for themselves and their family. As an organization, we respect Al’s decision and are fully understanding.”
The Jaguars run defense was ranked 28th last season in yards allowed with 2,229 yards. The Jaguars also allowed 23 rushing touchdowns.
Woods played in 14 games last season with Seattle, starting five, and recorded 32 tackles.
Woods is one of several interior defensive linemen in the NFL that have chosen not to play this season. The Jaguars will likely try to sign a veteran to take Woods’ spot. Former Jaguar Marcell Dareus would seem to be a sensible solution. The run defense plummeted once Dareus was injured last season.
(You can email Hays at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon)