Matt LaCosse has become the eighth New England Patriots player to opt out of the 2020 NFL season amid coronavirus concerns.

It was announced on Sunday, with 27-year-old Patriots tight end LaCosse exercising his Reserve/Opt-Out decision.

LaCosse joins fellow New England players Dont'a Hightower, Patrick Chung, Marcus Cannon, Brandon Bolden, Danny Vitale, Najee Toran and Marqise Lee in sitting out the campaign.

The former New York Giants TE was entering his second year with the Patriots after arriving from the Denver Broncos in 2019.

LaCosse made 11 appearances for the Patriots last season, recording 13 receptions for 131 yards and one touchdown.

Gardner Minshew was included on a list of five players placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

Jacksonville quarterback Minshew has been named as the franchise's starter for the 2020 season, his second in the NFL after being selected in the sixth round by Jacksonville.

Minshew threw for 3,271 yards, 21 touchdowns and six interceptions in a rookie campaign that saw him step in to replace the injured Nick Foles during Jacksonville's opening game.

With Foles traded to the Chicago Bears after appearing in just four games in 2019, Minshew was confirmed at the top of the depth chart.

Running back Ryquell Armstead, tight end Charles Jones, wide receiver Michael Walker and safety Andrew Wingard joined Minshew in being added to the reserve/COVID-19 list for Jacksonville, taking the franchise's total to eight.

A player does not have to receive a positive coronavirus test result to be placed on the list, however, as they can also have been in close proximity around an infected individual.

NFL teams are not permitted to disclose results of virus tests.

New England Patriots wide receiver Marqise Lee and New York Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley have both decided to sit out the 2020 NFL season due to coronavirus concerns.  

Lee, who signed a one-year contract with the Patriots in April, became a first-time father in February and said protecting his daughter and family is the reason for his decision. 

"This is a big sit-down process I had, with me and my significant other, as far as family goes," Lee told ESPN.

"The risk factor in which we believe that's going to be there, it just wasn't worth it in a sense. Just too many unknowns.

"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."

Mosley – the highest-paid player on the Jets – also cited family health reasons for his decision. He is in the second year of a five-year, $85million contract he signed with the Jets in March 2019 after five seasons with the Baltimore Ravens.  

Mosley played just two games last season after suffering a groin injury in the season opener against the Buffalo Bills. He returned an interception for a touchdown in that game. 

Mosley said in June that he was cleared for training camp.  

Lee joins linebacker Dont'a Hightower, safety Patrick Chung, tackle Marcus Cannon, running back Brandon Bolden, fullback Danny Vitale and offensive lineman Najee Toran as Patriots players choosing to sit out this season. 

Lee spent the first six years of his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars but missed the entire 2018 season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), medial collateral ligament (MCL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) in his left knee during the preseason.

He appeared in six games last season with three receptions for 18 yards. 

Drew Brees has revealed the personal anguish he felt following the backlash to his original comments on kneeling for the anthem before NFL games.

The New Orleans Saints quarterback was widely criticised by team-mates and other players in the NFL back in June when he suggested those who do not stand for the Star-Spangled Banner are "disrespecting the flag".

Brees, the NFL's all-time leader in passing yardage, completions and touchdown passes, later apologised for those words and reiterated he knew his remarks were wrong when United States president Donald Trump argued he should not have made a U-turn.

The Saints quarterback spoke to the media on Saturday and, prior to answering questions, he once again addressed his original comments about the anthem and the aftermath.

"Going back to my comment on June 3, to think for a second that New Orleans or the state of Louisiana or the black community would think that I was not standing with them for social justice, that completely broke my heart," Brees said.

"It was crushing. Never ever would I feel that way. I recognise that I missed an opportunity that day.

"I had an opportunity to talk about and emphasise the social injustices that exist for our black community and our need as a country to support them and to advocate for systemic change. And my lack of awareness in that moment hurt a lot of people."

Kneeling for the anthem - which was brought into the sports mainstream by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the 2016 NFL season as a protest against racial injustice and police brutality - is expected to be more prevalent in the 2020 campaign following the death of unarmed black man George Floyd in police custody in May.

NBA players have been kneeling and wearing 'Black Lives Matter' t-shirts prior to their games in Orlando this week and, shortly after Brees' comments in June, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged the league "were wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting" previously.

Brees clarified that he would be standing for the anthem this season.

"I will always stand for the flag because of what it means to me and to honour all those who have sacrificed, who have served and died for our country and all those who have struggled to move this country forward," Brees added.

"I acknowledge and respect anyone who chooses to kneel or any other form of peaceful protest to bring attention to the social injustices and systemic racism that so many have endured and continue to endure in our country.

"I will always support and advocate for the black and brown communities in the fight for social injustices. Always."

Antonio Brown vowed to deliver "the best season" of his career after the wide receiver learned he would be banned for the first eight games of the 2020 NFL campaign.

The 32-year-old finally discovered his fate on Friday as the league suspended the seven-time Pro Bowler for half of the 2020 regular season due to "multiple violations of the NFL's personal conduct policy".

Brown had been the subject of an NFL investigation following accusations of sexual misconduct and an incident in January where the receiver pleaded no contest to burglary and battery charges.

He has remained unsigned since last September, when he was cut by the New England Patriots after just one game having previously been released by the Oakland Raiders, for whom he never played a down before being let go amid a slew of off-field incidents.

Despite his troubles, Brown is expected to return to the field in 2020 now the NFL's suspension has been confirmed and he expects to sign with a new team soon.

"I look forward to new beginnings," he wrote on Instagram.

"I want to be the best version of myself on and off the field, and I will do my best to be a great team-mate. I appreciate the NFL giving me the opportunity to continue to work on myself and improve.

"I am thankful and grateful for this opportunity to play a game that I truly love and I look forward to joining a new team soon.

"Thank you to my family and all those that have supported me. I will show the fans my appreciation for this second chance by having the best season of my career."

Brown signed off the post with the hashtag "#AB2.0".

Having entered the league with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010, Brown has amassed 11,263 receiving yards and caught 75 touchdowns in his career.

Reigning MVP Lamar Jackson this week lobbied for Brown to return to the AFC North and join the quarterback with the Baltimore Ravens, where his cousin, Marquise Brown, currently plays.

Antonio Brown has been suspended for the first eight games of the NFL season, the league announced on Friday.

Brown is a free agent after being cut by the New England Patriots after just 11 days and one game in September.

Reports have claimed Brown will not contest the punishment, meaning should he sign for a team he would miss half of the regular season.

Wide receiver Brown was found to have breached the NFL's personal conduct policy.

The official NFL website said Brown's suspension stemmed "from his no contest plea to burglary and battery charges from a January incident in Florida" and accusations regarding allegedly intimidating text messages sent to a woman.

An NFL statement read: "Antonio Brown was notified today by NFL special counsel for conduct Todd Jones that he has been suspended without pay for the first eight regular-season games of the 2020 season for multiple violations of the NFL's personal conduct policy.

"Brown, who played one game in the 2019 season for the New England Patriots before being released, is an unrestricted free agent and may sign with any team. If he is signed before the start of the 2020 season, Brown would be eligible to participate in all of his club's preseason activities. Brown's suspension would take effect as of the final roster reduction on September 5. He would be eligible to return after the team's eighth game.

"As part of the discipline, Brown was directed to continue his programme of counselling and treatment, and that he is expected fully to cooperate with his clinicians.

"Brown was advised that any future violation of the personal conduct policy will likely result in more significant discipline."

The NFL.com website said the league is looking into civil claims of sexual assault against the 32-year-old, accusations that Brown has strenuously denied.

Jamal Adams says his "plan is to retire" with the Seattle Seahawks after being traded by the New York Jets.

The All-Pro safety was last week shipped to the NFC West franchise by the Jets, who landed two first-round draft picks, a 2021 third-rounder and Bradley McDougald in exchange for Adams and a fourth-round selection in 2022.

Jets general manager Joe Douglas had previously expressed a wish to make Adams "a Jet for life", with the defensive back saying at the time "I want to be a Jet for life too".

However, the relationship between Adams and the Jets deteriorated in recent months after the 24-year-old became angry at hearing his name in trade rumours last season.

Adams' frustration at not getting a new contract led to him requesting a trade last month and he then took public shots at both head coach Adam Gase and Douglas shortly before the trade went down.

The Seahawks have inherited the final two years of Adams' rookie contract but his wish to become the highest-paid safety in the league has not gone away.

"The plan is to retire here," Adams told reporters.

"This is my plan. But obviously, those things handle themselves. When all you have to do is just go on the field and perform, do the right things on and off the field, and those things will take care of itself, man.

"So I'm very excited to be here. I know the rest of the guys are excited to have me, and the coaching staff, and everybody else. So again, man, we'll worry about that when the time comes."

Given the Jets had Adams had under contract through 2021, it seemed he had little leverage to try and force his way out of New York.

But the two first-round picks ultimately swayed Douglas and left Adams elated that he had a fresh start elsewhere for his fourth season in the league.

"When I got the call, honestly, I broke down in tears of joy," Adams added.

"A lot of mixed emotions. I'm gonna miss a lot of the guys over there. But at the end of the day, man, this was my calling. This was where I need to be."

LeSean McCoy will team up with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski after agreeing to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the veteran running back's agent revealed.

McCoy has been a free agent following his release from the Kansas City Chiefs, for whom the 11-year veteran was a healthy scratch for their Super Bowl LIV victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

But the six-time Pro Bowler, who had previously talked up the chance to return to the Philadelphia Eagles, is set for the Buccaneers on a one-year deal in 2020.

"He's very excited to play with established vets like Brady and Gronk in trying to win another championship," Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN.

McCoy averaged 4.6 yards per carry in 2019 – his best return in three seasons – but amassed just 465 rushing yards and had four touchdowns, and his days as a feature back appear behind him.

The 32-year-old has six 1,000-yard rushing seasons, including four in six years with the Eagles, who drafted him in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft.

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said he is "excited" after star defensive end Joey Bosa agreed to a new contract.

Bosa is set to become the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL following his reported five-year extension with the Chargers on Tuesday.

The two-time Pro Bowler will reportedly earn $135million, $102m guaranteed, and Lynn is glad to have Bosa's future sorted following Melvin Gordon's holdout last year.

"Joey is tied down for a little while, and we're all excited about it. We have some other guys with contracts coming up, but time will tell," Lynn said on Wednesday.

"It's one less distraction you have to deal with."

Running back Gordon missed camp in 2019 and did not report back until the fourth week of the regular season, before eventually signing for the Denver Broncos in the offseason.

"It didn't work out with Melvin last year but glad it worked out now," Lynn added.

"It's my job to build these players up and make them feel like Superman. When they want to get paid like Superman I step back."

Bosa finished the 2019 campaign with 67 total tackles, 18 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks for the Chargers as he earned his second Pro-Bowl appearance in four seasons.

The 25-year-old – the third pick in the 2016 NFL Draft – posted the third double-digit sack season of his career, but the Chargers missed the playoffs.

Philadelphia Eagles star Lane Johnson has been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list after contracting coronavirus.

Johnson – a three-time NFL Pro Bowler – announced on Wednesday that he has tested positive for COVID-19 amid the global pandemic.

In a social media post midweek, the Eagles right tackle wrote: "Over the past few months, I have tested negative after all travels including before and after the OL Masterminds Summit 18 days ago.

"I have been working hard in preparation for a long, gruelling season and have tried to take all necessary precautions to build a safe and healthy environment during the sessions. I have and will continue to take this seriously and encourage everyone else to do so as well.

"I will follow all protocols and I look forward to joining my team-mates and coaches on the field soon! #FlyEaglesFly."

Eagles linebacker Nathan Gerry and tackle Jordan Mailata have also been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, the team announced.

"The Reserve/COVID-19 list was created for a player who either tests positive for COVID-19 or who has been in close contact with an infected person or persons," the Eagles said in a statement.

"Per NFL-NFLPA policy, clubs are not permitted to comment on a player's medical status other than referring to roster status."

The Eagles will face the Washington Football Team in week one of the NFL season on September 13.

Kansas City Chiefs star and Super Bowl-winning running back Damien Williams has opted out of the NFL season due to coronavirus concerns.

The Chiefs announced Williams' decision on Wednesday, after starting guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif also opted to sit out the 2020 campaign.

Williams played a key role in Kansas City's Super Bowl LIV victory over the San Francisco 49ers, rushing for 104 yards and scoring the game's final two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

"As an organisation, we certainly understand and respect Damien's choice, knowing it was made in the best interest of his family,'' general manager Brett Veach said on Wednesday.

"He means a lot to our football team as a player and a person, and we're going to miss having him around this season.''

Williams – an undrafted free agent six years ago – joined the Chiefs from the Miami Dolphins in 2018.

Despite being limited to 11 regular-season games last season, Williams still led the Chiefs in rushing with 498 yards.

Williams scored six touchdowns in the Chiefs' three postseason games en route to glory.

The Chiefs begin their title defence against the Houston Texans on September 10.

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said number one pick Joe Burrow will have every opportunity to start for the NFL team.

Burrow was selected with the top pick in April's NFL Draft and the 23-year-old has agreed to terms on a four-year, $36million contract.

All eyes are on Burrow, who will be tasked with trying to turn around Cincinnati's fortunes – the Bengals have not won a playoff game in three decades.

After moving on from veteran QB Andy Dalton, Taylor insisted the Bengals have faith in Burrow.

"We're going to put a lot on Joe right out of the gate," Taylor told a news conference on Wednesday.

"Obviously we have weeks to sort out who's starting and all that good stuff, but Joe's going to walk in and take the first snaps at quarterback. He's prepared for that."

Taylor added: "We took him because we've got high expectations for Joe. And from everything I know about him and have seen of him, he's got high expectations for himself.

"And so he's going to do everything he can to put himself in a position to be successful. I trust that."

The Bengals will open their season against the Los Angeles Chargers on September 13.

Burrow won the Heisman Trophy last season having led LSU to a national title, breaking numerous records along the way, including throwing 60 touchdowns – an all-time leading mark in the NCAA.

Lamar Jackson is still hoping the Baltimore Ravens sign star wide receiver Antonio Brown.

Brown, 32, was released by the New England Patriots in September last year amid sexual assault allegations he has denied.

Jackson worked out with Brown in April, and remains hopeful the Ravens will sign the seven-time Pro Bowler.

"I was hoping we would get him. I'm still hoping – a little bit," the Ravens quarterback told reporters on Wednesday.

"Around us, he was a great guy. You don't really see anything going on at all. He's a cool, down-to-earth guy and he's passionate about the sport of football.

"When he was working, you could tell, this man, he's going to go 24/7. And after the workout, he still went and lifted. He already – prior to the workout – he lifted.

"We go out there and go to throwing routes, after that, guys went and lifted some more. I'm like, 'Man, this guy, there's no quitting with him.' That's the type of guy we need in our locker room. And I feel like the locker room here is different from any other locker room. It's like a brotherhood going on. It's none of that outside noise; it's strictly inside.

"We worry about each other; we worry about what we have going on. We want to win, and I can just tell in him that he wants to win. He wants to play ball."

The Ravens are scheduled to begin their NFL season against the Cleveland Browns on September 13.

Lamar Jackson's focus is on winning the Super Bowl before he considers negotiating for a contract to rival that given to Patrick Mahomes.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Jackson followed Mahomes in winning the MVP award in his second season in the NFL in 2019.

But it was the Kansas City Chiefs superstar who was celebrating come the end of the year after leading his team to a Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Miami.

Mahomes was subsequently rewarded with a record 10-year extension worth $503million, the largest in North American professional sports history.

Jackson would appear likely to be set for similarly lucrative improved terms, but he insists he first must prove himself and deliver a ring.

"My reaction is that I've just got to win a Super Bowl," Jackson told reporters. "I don't really focus on what he has going on, because I've still got to prove myself.

"When that time comes, we can negotiate after a Super Bowl. But until then, I'm focused on winning right now."

The Ravens fell to a surprise loss to the Tennessee Titans in the playoffs, having been beaten by the Los Angeles Chargers the previous year, leaving Jackson still waiting on a first postseason win.

There is certainly no complacency heading into the new season, however, as the 23-year-old refuses to look beyond Baltimore's season opener against the Cleveland Browns.

"I've just to go out there and do my job, go out there and win games, and make it to the playoffs," he said. "Our job is to focus on the Cleveland Browns right now.

"I can't really dwell on the playoffs, because those games were my rookie season, where people didn't even expect us to go to the playoffs at all, and last year, where none of us expected to lose.

"They [the Titans] came out and played well. We didn't.

"But now we've just got to focus on the Cleveland Browns. When we get back to the playoffs, we'll go from there."

Tua Tagovailoa will be ready to join his new Miami Dolphins team-mates when practice begins in two weeks after passing his physical.

The former Alabama quarterback was selected fifth overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, sliding down the board somewhat after dislocating his hip against Mississippi State in November.

Tagovailoa underwent successful surgery following that injury and has been building towards a return to fitness ahead of the new season.

And Dolphins coach Brian Flores confirmed on Wednesday that the 22-year-old was not on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

"He's not on PUP," Flores told reporters. "There's an acclimation period here for the next two weeks. There's strength and conditioning and some walkthroughs.

"There will be [strenuous activity] from a strength and conditioning standpoint, but from a football, practice, drills standpoint, there won't be much.

"But he's through the physical. And when we do get to practice, you'll see him out there."

But Flores moved swiftly to calm excitement around Tagovailoa, suggesting new measures amid the coronavirus pandemic will make this season tricky for any player, let alone a rookie.

"People want to talk about Tua. I understand it," Flores said. "At the same time, he's a young player, this is his first NFL training camp.

"I think he's got to take it one day at a time and not think about what's realistic for the season. I think we just need to take a one-day-at-a-time approach.

"That would be my message to him - but it's not just him, it's really every player on this team. This is a different year, a different type of training camp.

"No-one's gone through a training camp like this, where a lot of meetings are virtual and there was no spring, there are no preseason games. No-one's done this.

"So, instead of looking into the future, I'd rather just take the one-day-at-a-time approach. That's the message I'm going to give to the team, as well."

Tagovailoa signed a four-year contract with Miami in May and will receive $30.275million guaranteed. The deal contains a signing bonus of nearly $19.6m and contains a fifth-year option for 2024.

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