It could be a while before DeMarcus Lawrence shows his face at The Star.
No, the Dallas Cowboys‘ stud pass-rusher isn’t embroiled in another contract squabble. Rather, he’s caught in a personal conundrum: play football this season and risk infection from the coronavirus or play it safe for his and his family’s health.
As such, Lawrence told ESPN’s Todd Archer he remains undecided whether to report to training camp on July 28.
“I’m taking it one day at a time, talking with my team and trying to figure out as many details as possible before I make a decision and have it set in stone,” he said. “Shoot, I love to ride with my brothers and play the game of football. When I have to take that away from myself, it’s hard and I don’t want to make a decision like that. But I also have to make sure I’m taking care of my family. Family is No. 1. After the game of football is done, that’s the only thing I have to depend on, so I’ve got to take care of them.”
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A Maddening Process
The NFL has dragged its feet through the COVID-19 pandemic. They had the luxury of time, compared to other in-season sports leagues, but that luxury is over. While Roger Goodell and Co. have tackled micro issues, like banning jersey swaps in a comical measure to reduce contamination, the brain trust has yet to solve the macro issues.
How will testing be done this summer and fall? Will there be fans in the stands? Any preseason games? What will camp practices — the first on-field work for teams since last year — look like? What happens when, not if, a player contracts the virus? What if it spreads to an entire defense or wipes out a quarterback room?
These are a mere smattering of hypothetical questions that have no practical answers, roughly six weeks away from the opener. It’s terrifying for those involved, the ones who actually get on the grass and risk their safety — and the safety of those around them.
These are the questions on their minds.
Lawrence, whose pregnant wife Sasha is due in October, revealed to Archer the possibility of isolating at a team hotel during camp. Again, however, nothing is close to being finalized, leaving players on tenuous ground in unprecedently uncertain times.
“You can incarcerate the body, but you can’t incarcerate the mind. That’s the choice of your freedom,” Lawrence said. “I feel like I’ll be OK. I know my wife’s a strong woman. She always steps forward for our family if we have to make this sacrifice in order to make sure our family is striving and still surviving. Other than that, do I want to? Hell no. But sometimes you have to roll with the punches, stand up, stand your ground and do whatever you have to do to make things happen.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL