Broad receiver Marqise Lee stated Saturday that he has determined to decide out of the 2020 season, changing into the seventh New England Patriots participant to take action. No NFL crew has had extra gamers decide out of the season.
Lee, 28, grew to become a first-time father in February, and stated defending his new child daughter, Alia, and household was on the core of his resolution.
“It is a huge sit-down course of I had, with me and my important different, so far as household goes. The chance issue through which we imagine that is going on the market, it simply wasn’t price it in a way. Simply too many unknowns,” Lee informed ESPN.com.
“We knew New England, honestly, had a great system in place. But I told Coach [Bill Belichick], at the end of the day, I wouldn’t be doing him justice going out there because I wouldn’t be able to give him my all knowing my family was back at the house worrying about their situation.”
In addition to Lee, the Patriots have had starting linebacker Dont’a Hightower, starting safety Patrick Chung, starting right tackle Marcus Cannon, core special-teams player Brandon Bolden, fullback Danny Vitale and practice squad offensive lineman Najee Toran opt out of the 2020 season.
The Patriots had signed Lee to a modest one-year contract in April. The 2014 second-round draft choice out of USC spent the first six years of his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars, having signed a four-year contract worth $34 million in March 2018. But he played in only six games after signing that big deal, having missed the 2018 season after suffering a torn ACL, MCL and PCL in his left knee during the preseason.
Lee told ESPN that he plans to play in 2021. His contract tolls, meaning he’ll still be with the Patriots next season. He was viewed to be on the roster bubble this year.
Speaking about his decision to opt out of the season, Lee elaborated on what it has meant to him to become a father.
“People who know my background and where I came from, and things like that, I didn’t really have my pops in my life. I never really had a real father figure besides coaches as I got older,” Lee said. “This is my opportunity to be there for my daughter. I was hoping she could be there watching this season, but clearly she wasn’t going to be able to do that. I felt like it was important to just spend this year with her, and get back to it next year. Football is going to be there at the end of the day.”
Lee added that members of his extended family were a consideration in his decision as well.
“There are a lot of other implications that deal with this issue too,” he said. “Some of my [extended] family members are sick and things like that. At the end of the day, we weren’t trying to close off family members for the year. We’re just trying to find the safest way for the family, and this is it.”