Detroit Lions defensive tackle John Atkins has become the team's first player to voluntarily opt out of the 2020 NFL season.
More than 30 players across the league have selected to not participate in the upcoming season, during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That group includes several big names, from former Lions offensive lineman Larry Warford to Patriots starters Patrick Chung, Dont'a Hightower and Marcus Cannon.
Players have until seven days after the league's new collective bargaining agreement has been signed to opt out. According to Pro Football Talk, the earliest the deadline is expected to be is Aug. 4. Players who opt out will be provided a $150,000 stipend, which will be treated as an advanced salary for a future season.
After initially signing with the Patriots as an undrafted free agent out of Georgia, the 6-foot-3, 320-pound Atkins joined Detroit's practice squad in September 2018. He appeared in 12 games last season, making six starts and playing more than 400 snaps. He finished with 20 combined tackles.