The NFL has seen tons of players opt out so far, and the Detroit Lions just added the first name from their squad to the list.
Wednesday afternoon, defensive lineman John Atkins was revealed by ESPN’s Adam Schefter to be opting out on the season. Atkins is the first member of the team to opt out of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Lions DT John Atkins has opted out, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 29, 2020
The players will have until August 4 to decide whether they’re in or out for the 2020 season. Obviously, it’s a personal decision for each player that decides to walk away for the time being and one that should be respected considering nobody knows family history or health history of the players.
John Atkins Stats
An undrafted free agent out of Georgia in 2018, Atkins joined the Lions later that season after being with the New England Patriots for a time. Atkins hasn’t played much in the NFL, but he has 22 tackles to his credit thus far in his young career. This season, Atkins was going to be counted on to provide depth up front for the team in the middle of the defensive line. That would have been his primary role as a depth player.
Lions Revealed Facility Changes for 2020
Recently, ahead of training camp, the team revealed that they had made some changes to things around Allen Park. Rod Wood walked fans through a new video that showed some of the changes around the facility. Some were simple such as arrows on the ground and reminders to keep 6 feet apart with temperature checks. Others, such as a reconfigured lunch room were a bit more complex.
Here’s a look
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) July 28, 2020
Perhaps the most interesting new element of the facility was the practice field being used as a 90 player meeting room with seats 6 feet apart. It might be tough, but the Lions seem to be well prepared to deal with their new normal thanks to what they’ve been able to engineer in the meantime.
Bob Quinn Explains Other Lions Changes
The Lions have managed to weather the storm fairly well and are looking prepared to deal with the pandemic as best they can. General manager Bob Quinn spoke with the media and said that the team has been preparing as best they can by cleaning the facility regularly.
Quinn is going over some of the new safety protocols in Allen Park, said Lions have put their facility through 10 deep cleans, which means no one allowed in the building for 48 hours. There's plexiglass between lockers in the locker room
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) July 29, 2020
Additionally, the team’s positional rooms have been moved around in order to better suit the needs of social distancing and the players.
Quinn said the Lions' QB room is not usable right now because of its size. Every position has gone up a room, essentially, so OL will use the team meeting room, which previously held 120 people. Now holds 34 max.
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) July 29, 2020
The team is also going next level in terms of tracking movements within the building, which could be a big plus in terms of limiting the spread.
Players and staff will be wearing microchipped devices (sweat bands, wrist bands), that will track which people you are contact with in the building. Devices blink and give audio alerts if you get too close to people outside designated tiers.
— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) July 29, 2020
All of these precautions hopefully will mean the Lions can navigate the pandemic well and stay out of trouble in terms of having an outbreak on their team.
Lions Restart Plan Approved by NFL
The Lions were revealed to be one of just 8 teams who’s IDER plan, that is the infectious disease emergency response plan that the NFLPA has approved on the way toward getting training camp going. The league has sent in 32 proposals, and currently, 24 are under review according to the document.
All 32 teams have submitted IDER plans–8 of them have been approved and the remaining plans are under review. pic.twitter.com/y8ej5VDZqH
— NFLPA (@NFLPA) July 22, 2020
The Lions being in the approved stage is huge. Theoretically, this shows the team has been on top of things and has one of the best possible plans as it relates to getting their camp going and progressing safely. All of this offseason, the Lions have been solid in terms of their virtual program and it shows the team is ahead in terms of getting things going in the right, safe way.
Atkins is the first to put himself on the sidelines in Detroit, and it will be interesting to see how many others do now.