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Broncos' Ja'Wuan James skipping 2020 over COVID-19 concerns

Mon Aug 3 3:42pm ET
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer

In this July 19, 2019, file photo, Denver Broncos offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James (70) stretches during NFL football training camp in Englewood, Colo. James informed the Broncos on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020, that he's opting out of the 2020 season over coronavirus concerns. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Right tackle Ja'Wuan James informed the Denver Broncos on Monday that he's opting out of the 2020 season over coronavirus concerns.

The Broncos were counting on their headliner from last year's free agent class to bounce back from a balky right knee that limited him to just three appearances in 2019 after signing what was at the time the biggest contract ever for a left tackle, $51 million over four years.

Elijah Wilkinson could be in line to fill in for James for a second straight season, although Wilkinson is still recovering from offseason foot surgery.

James tweeted that while it was a difficult decision to skip the upcoming season, it was the right one for him and his family.

''There's just too much unknown about this virus and about plans handling it going forward,'' James wrote. ''My wife and I were blessed with our newborn son May 22 and he's now my top priority. Although I worked all offseason and invested in my body to bounce back and have a great year on the field, it's just not worth risking the health of my loved ones.

''I've seen this virus already hospitalize one of my family members and hope to not have that happen again,'' James added. ''We can't live in fear or just confine ourselves just to our homes but we all have to make the right conscious choices and navigate through day to day life to protect our neighbors.''

James wished the NFL well as it navigates the COVID-19 crisis.

''All my brothers around the league, I pray for you and your families' safety throughout the season and rest of this pandemic,'' James wrote.

James played just 63 snaps in his first season in Denver after the Broncos signed him to a deal that included $32 million in guarantees.

He got hurt on the 10th play of the season, in the opener at Oakland, and didn't return until midseason when he tore scar tissue and the meniscus in his right knee. He returned in December but only played the first half at Houston as his knee kept buckling on him.

Although coach Vic Fangio often was mystified by James' injury and slow recovery, he never put him on injured reserve. James said in December that he didn't need surgery but was eager to bounce back in 2020 to show his team and its fans he was worth the big contract he signed.

''To the Denver Community, these first two years weren't what I expected them to be when arriving here,'' James said in his Twitter statement. ''I know you don't know me well and a false narrative was painted of me last year due to comments made about my injury, but I am invested in this city and my team.

''I look forward to the future we have here, but in that same breath, I'm even more invested in my family. Everyone make sure to stay positive through these crazy times and enjoy your loved ones. I hope 2021 will be a better year for all of us. Take care of yourselves, because ultimately, health is wealth.''

Wilkinson subbed for James on the right side last year but the Broncos wanted him to compete with incumbent left tackle Garett Bolles during training camp this summer, a plan that was crimped by Wilkinson's left foot operation.

Already the Broncos are planning to have two new starters on the O-line: free agent guard Graham Glasgow and rookie center Lloyd Cushenberry III.

Player Notes
Odell Beckham Jr. Aug 3 1:40pm ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has no plans to opt out of the 2020 NFL season, despite negative comments he made in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. In the interview, Beckham criticized the NFL, stating, I just feel like the season shouldnt happen and Im prepared for it to not happen and I wouldnt mind not having it. Were not ready for the season, so why are we trying to push forward?" It turns out that the interview took place two weeks ago and Beckham has since backed off on those comments after he saw how safe and sanitary everything inside the Cleveland facility has been. Beckham should be treated as an upside WR2 in fantasy drafts this season.

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P.J. Hall Aug 3 9:33am ET

Las Vegas Raiders DT P.J. Hall will be released Monday, Aug. 3, two years after selecting him in the second round of the NFL draft.

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Doug Pederson Aug 2 9:23pm ET

Updating a previous report, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson (illness) recently tested positive for coronavirus but is reportedly asymptomatic. Pederson will continue to lead the Eagles virtually 'as much as he can' while assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley will serve as the interim head coach in his absence.

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Doug Pederson Aug 2 8:53pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson (illness) recently tested positive for coronavirus but is reportedly asymptomatic, according to sources.

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Taquan Mizzell Aug 2 6:13pm ET

New Orleans Saints DB Chris Q. Johnson, OG Adrian Magee and RB Taquan Mizzell were waived Sunday, Aug. 2.

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Romeo Okwara Aug 2 5:33pm ET

Detroit Lions DE Romeo Okwara was placed on the Active/Non-Football Injury list Sunday, Aug. 2.

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Dontrelle Inman Aug 2 5:23pm ET

Free-agent WR Dontrelle Inman (Colts) visited the Washington Football Team on Sunday, Aug. 2.

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Tommylee Lewis Aug 2 5:13pm ET

New Orleans Saints WRs Maurice Harris and Tommylee Lewis were released Sunday, Aug. 2.

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Sony Michel Aug 2 5:03pm ET

New England Patriots RB Sony Michel (foot) was placed on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list Sunday, Aug. 2, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: Michel probably will miss some practice time during camp because of his injury but appears to be on track for the start of the regular season. He can be considered a No. 2 or No. 3 fantasy running back if he is healhy.

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Mohamed Sanu Aug 2 5:03pm ET

New England Patriots WR Mohamed Sanu (undisclosed) was placed on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list Sunday, Aug. 2, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: Sanu struggled after his trade to the Patriots and posted only 207 yards in eight games. He probably will be a top three receiver for the Patriots if he can remain healthy and should be rostered in most fantasy leagues in 2020.

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Da'Mari Scott Aug 2 3:50pm ET

New York Giants wide receiver/kick returner Da'Mari Scott has elected to opt out of the 2020 NFL season. Scott has mostly been a special teams contributor when active. He was active for five games last season and three in 2018 for the Bills. Scott has caught two passes in his career, for a total of 22 yards.

From RotoBaller

Jamize Olawale Aug 2 3:40pm ET

Dallas Cowboys full back Jamize Olawale has chose to opt out of the 2020 season. In two seasons with Dallas, Olawale has yet to attempt a rush and has caught just two passes. He has primarily worked on special teams, logging 539 special teams snaps as compared to just 232 offensive snaps (almost all for blocking). He's under contract for $1.3 million in 2021.

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Leonard Williams Aug 2 3:13pm ET

New York Giants DT Leonard Williams (hamstring) was placed on the Active/Non-Football Injury list Sunday, Aug. 2.

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Jeremy Hill Aug 2 2:43pm ET

Free-agent RB Jeremy Hill (Patriots) signed with the Las Vegas Raiders Sunday, Aug. 2. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

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Aug 2 2:33pm ET

Free-agent DT Niles Scott (Bengals) and CB Akeem King (Seahawks) signed with the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Aug. 2. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

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James Washington Aug 2 2:03pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers WR James Washington was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday, Aug. 2.

Fantasy Spin: Washington will be sidelined for an undisclosed amount of time, so fantasy players can keep an eye on the situation. He had a solid 2019 season with 73 receiving yards and should be a top-three receiver for the Steelers again this season. He can be a No. 4 or No. 5 receiver in fantasy leagues.

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Foyesade Oluokun Aug 2 1:13pm ET

Atlanta Falcons LB Foyesade Oluokun was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday, Aug. 2.

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Jarvis Landry Aug 2 1:10pm ET

The Cleveland Browns placed wide receiver Jarvis Landry (hip) on the active/PUP list on Sunday. The team said that Landry has not had a setback and is still on schedule in his recovery. Landry is healing up from February hip surgery. Initially given a 6-8 month timetable to return, Landry will be cutting it close if he wants to be active for Week 1. If Landry is unable to start the season on time, Kareem Hunt could see added snaps as a wide receiver. When healthy, Landry is a solid WR2 in PPR leagues.

From RotoBaller

Jarvis Landry Aug 2 1:03pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: Landry will be limited during training camp but is on track for the start of the regular season. He will continue to see plenty of targets in the passing game and can be a No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues.

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J'Mon Moore Aug 2 1:03pm ET

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