The New England Patriots were left as the hardest-hit NFL team with the deadline for player opt-outs passing Thursday.
Despite eight players deciding against playing in the 2020 NFL season due to coronavirus-related concerns, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is fully confident that the team has sufficient protocols in place to protect players and team staff against COVID-19.
“I feel very good about the environment that we’re in,” Belichick said Friday in a video conference with reporters, per NBC Sports Boston. “I feel fine.”
A total of 67 players are confirmed to have voluntarily opted out of the upcoming season by Thursday’s deadline. The Patriots had the most players opt out by a wide margin, with RB Brandon Bolden, OT Marcus Cannon, S Patrick Chung, LB Dont’a Hightower, WR Marqise Lee, OG Najee Toran, FB Danny Vitale and TE Matt LaCosse all deciding against playing.
Adding that no members of his coaching staff have opted out of taking part of the upcoming season, Belichick also indicated that everyone who is staying onboard for the season feels comfortable with the situation.
“I can’t speak for everybody, but I think my impression is that as an organization, as a coaching staff, the support people, the players — there’s a comfort level with what we’re doing and who’s doing it and how we’re doing it, and we’re being productive,” Belichick said.
“So, if concerns or problems come up, then we’ll address those. But right now, I think it’s a good working environment. We’re getting a lot done.”
Belichick and the Patriots are scheduled to open their season with a Week 1 matchup against the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 13.