Denver Broncos star Von Miller said he considered opting out of the 2020 NFL season due to coronavirus concerns.

Miller – a Super Bowl champion and eight-time Pro Bowler – was among the highest profile American athletes to test positive for COVID-19 in April before being cleared of coronavirus two weeks later.

However, the Broncos linebacker revealed he thought about sitting out the season, which is scheduled to begin in September.

"I thought about it,'' the 31-year-old said on Tuesday. " ... I thought about all of my family, I took serious consideration and the things that could possibly happen.

"It's not a 100 per cent bubble like basketball, so there are always going to be holes, but I felt like the job the Broncos were doing to keep us safe was enough for me not to opt out.''

Miller, an asthma sufferer, added: "I did [have trouble], it was hard for me to get my wind back, probably for two or three weeks after the virus.

"During the virus I lost a lot of weight -- everybody is not the same, but for me I lost my taste and smell, I couldn't really, like, eat and when you can't taste or smell you kind of lose your appetite ... It was tough, no doubt about it, it was tough.''

"I just thought about it, I just really through about all the things that could possibly happen,'' Miller continued. "I thought about this season is different, I thought about -- I weighed the positives and negatives and just came to my own decision that I could play.

"But I thought about me having asthma ... I feel like every player should do that, I feel like every player should think about everything they could do.''

The Broncos are set to open their season against the Tennessee Titans on September 14.

 

Aaron Rodgers claims he is not fretting about his future with the Green Bay Packers after the team drafted Jordan Love.

Two-time MVP Rodgers is under contract through the next four seasons and the 36-year-old quarterback has previously spoken of his desire to follow peers Tom Brady and Drew Brees and play in his 40s.

However, like Brady and his Green Bay predecessor Brett Favre, it seems likely Rodgers will end his career elsewhere should he play that long after the Packers traded up to select Love in the first round of this year's NFL Draft.

While Rodgers, who led his team to an NFC Championship Game in which they were beaten by the San Francisco 49ers in January, will be the starter in 2020 while Love learns the ropes, there will be constant speculation about when the transition to the ex-Utah State quarterback will begin in Wisconsin.

"There's been a lot of hypothetical questions on here; I'm not always a huge fan of guessing those things," he told reporters.

"But obviously, I've said that before - I think if I retire on the team's timeline, then all is well. If they're looking to move on before I'm done playing, there becomes an impasse at that point.

"I can control my play and my performance and my approach and my leadership, but at some point, there's other factors involved."

Rodgers said he poured himself "four fingers" of tequila upon learning the Packers were drafting Love in April rather than a wide receiver that could offer him immediate help in trying to return to the Super Bowl.

His head coach, Matt LaFleur, said he believes Rodgers will remain the starter "for a really long time", but neither he nor his quarterback would speculate on the specifics of that timeframe.

"I savour every moment, every season," Rodgers said.

"I don't take any of it for granted. I don't know what the future holds. I know I can control this year and my play and my approach and my attitude."

Rodgers was named to his eighth Pro Bowl last season, having thrown for over 4,000 yards for the eighth time in his career.

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said the NFL franchise are monitoring Antonio Brown as they weigh up a move for the seven-time Pro Bowler.

Brown – a free agent – will serve an eight-game suspension after breaching the NFL's personal conduct policy following a January incident in Florida.

The 32-year-old wide receiver is looking for a new home after being cut by the New England Patriots, who axed Brown after just 11 days and one game in September.

Seattle have emerged as a possible destination and Carroll addressed the Seahawks' rumoured interest in Brown on Monday.

"What I'd say to you is what we always say because it's what we always do and who we are," Carroll said.

"[General manager] John [Schneider] is competing at every turn. There's never been a process, unless we just missed it, that we weren't involved with to understand what the chances were of helping our club.

"He's all over it. He understands what's going on right now, as much as you can. It's a very complex situation.

"We just need to see where it fits somewhere down the road. That's all I got for you."

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

Carroll, meanwhile, said the Seahawks are "very open" to reuniting with star wide receiver Josh Gordon.

Gordon was banned indefinitely in December for violations of the NFL's policies on performance-enhancing substances and substances of abuse.

A Pro Bowler, Gordon – who would become an unrestricted free agent if and when he is reinstated – made five appearances for the Seahawks last season after he was released by the Patriots in November.

"It's not in our hands," Carroll said. "Josh did a really good job with us last year. He fit in really well. He was part of this team by the way we opened and embraced his coming to us but also by the way he adapted.

"So we are very open to that thought and we'll see what happens. I don't know. I can't tell you what's going to happen on that."

Kyle Shanahan predicted Jordan Reed could prove to be a fantastic acquisition for the San Francisco 49ers, provided the tight end can remain healthy.

Niners general manager John Lynch confirmed a report Reed had agreed terms on a one-year, incentive-laden deal with the Niners following his release by Washington.

The move reunites the 30-year-old with Shanahan, his former offensive coordinator in Washington, where Reed spent the first seven years of his career, amassing 3,371 yards and 24 touchdowns.

Reed's time in the NFL so far has largely been one of unfulfilled potential owing to a spate of injuries and concussions, with his seventh known concussion keeping him out of the entire 2019 season, yet Shanahan is optimistic about a tight end who has missed 47 games over his career.

"I know he hasn't been on the field for a little bit," Shanahan told reporters.

"I know he's very hungry to play football. He hasn't gotten to do much of that lately. When you have a talented guy who is hungry to play football, it works out if they can stay healthy.

"Jordan's had some bad luck over the years. I know he's ready to go. I hope he has some good luck here.

"If he does, I think it's going to be a hell of a deal for the Niners, and a really good deal for him also."

If Reed can stay on the gridiron, he would form arguably the best tight-end duo in the league along with All-Pro George Kittle.

That is why Lynch felt it was worth taking a chance to bring Reed into the building.

"It's well documented he's had multiple concussions prior," Lynch admitted.

"In situations like this, there's a reason a guy like Jordan Reed is out there, so there is some risk-reward.

"We got to a point where we felt the risk that we're taking on was worth it with the potential reward."

Caleb Farley said a lack of testing and precautions against coronavirus at Virginia Tech led him to become the first 2021 NFL Draft prospect to skip the 2020 college football season.

Last week Farley announced he would not play for Virginia Tech in 2020 and would instead focus on his preparations for the draft.

The college football season is still up in the air, with major conferences committing to playing conference-only schedules in 2020.

Set to be one of the top cornerback prospects in the 2021 draft class, Farley had hoped to separate himself from the pack in his second season at the position having converted from wide receiver.

However, having lost his mother to cancer, Farley came to the decision to focus on the pros out of a desire to not put his father at risk from COVID-19.

Writing in Peter King's Football Morning in America column for NBC Sports, Farley explained: "This year at Virginia Tech, at our workouts, I started having deep concerns about staying healthy. Guys were going home, going to Myrtle Beach, coming back to campus, and we weren't getting tested.

"We're all together, working out, close to each other, and you have no real idea who might have it, if anybody might have it. One day I looked around, and we were like 100-deep in our indoor facility, no masks. My concern grew more and more.

"I started being really conflicted about playing. What this came down to is, I lost one parent. My dad is so important to me. Growing old with him means so much to me, more than football. I don't know what I would do if I contracted it and gave it to him, and he passed.

"I couldn't live with that. Part of me thought, I put all my eggs into this basket since I was six years old... just suck it up and play. Try to stay safe. But I couldn't ignore all the doubts in my head.

"People say I could have waited till the NCAA cancelled the season and then just not play. Or play a few games and then announce I was opting out. But I couldn't do that.

"I knew what I had to do. So last Monday night, I went to Coach [Justin] Fuente's office. I was so nervous. I just took a deep breath and told him my decision.

"He tried to talk me out of it. But I was firm. What I will always respect about Coach Fuente is, he said he loved me and will always be a Caleb Farley fan. That meant the world to me.

"So now I'll spend time training for pro football. I'll get ready for the scouting combine. What will the NFL think of my decision? I don't know.

"I haven't heard from anyone in the league. It's kind of scary to think about it. If the NFL looks at this and doesn't like it, I will just have to prove to them how dedicated to football I am.

"I will look NFL scouts and GMs in the eye and tell them my story. I don't know if it will hurt me. But I do know when I get in the league, I have the ability to play ball with anyone on this earth."

A Virginia Tech Athletics statement released on Monday said: "All Virginia Tech student-athletes are tested for COVID-19 and screened before being cleared to participate in any athletic activities. In addition, follow-up testing protocols are performed on a regular basis in accordance with Centres for Disease Control, ACC and NCAA recommendations."

It added that: "Student-athletes and staff have been issued personal protective equipment to wear in indoor areas."

However, Farley is not the only player to have concerns about the 2020 college football season. A group of players in the Pac-12 conference last weekend threatened to boycott the season unless their demands over safety while playing amid the pandemic, fighting racial injustice and fair compensation are met.

"I don't know if I will be the first of many college players to opt out," Farley wrote. "I know a lot of guys are thinking about it and trying to build up the courage to do it.

"I just hope the testing in college football will be available and it will be frequent. Because there's no way of knowing what you're signing up for if there's not a good testing program."

Odell Beckham Jr. believes the NFL should cancel the 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic, accusing franchise owners of not seeing players as human. 

The NFL is pressing ahead with plans for a full season despite the spread of COVID-19 in the United States, which has the highest number of cases in the world with over 4.8million. 

Preseason games have been cancelled but the regular season is set to take place with either reduced crowds or zero capacity. 

Players across the league have taken up the option to opt out of the season, with eight members of the New England Patriots' roster electing to do so. 

The NBA recently restarted with all games staged in Orlando, with MLB's shortened season finally getting underway last month. 

MLB is operating without a bubble, however, and has already seen outbreaks of cases within the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals that have led to postponements. 

There are no plans for a bubble environment in the NFL and Cleveland Browns wide receiver Beckham feels financial gain is the main reason why those in charge want the season to go ahead. 

"Obviously with everything that's going on, it doesn't make sense why we're trying to do this," Beckham told The Wall Street Journal.  

"I can understand basketball was already in the playoffs. Five-on-five basketball in an arena is going to be more intense than regular-season games. 

"Hooping is different than playing an 11-on-11 contact sport where there's 80 people in a locker room. 

"We're not ready for football season. So why are we trying to push forward? 

"It's obviously for their money. And that bothers me because there's always been this - and I hate saying it like that - but the owners' [attitude is], 'Oh we own you guys', and just kind of that unfairness going on that they don't see us as human. 

"I just feel like the season shouldn't happen and I'm prepared for it to not happen and I wouldn't mind not having it." 

Lamar Jackson is "tired of going home" in the NFL playoffs and wants to make sure the Baltimore Ravens do not fall short again in 2020.

Ravens quarterback Jackson won the MVP award last season after a spectacular year that saw him lead Baltimore to a league-best 14-2 record.

However, a year after the Ravens were undone by the Los Angeles Chargers in the postseason, Baltimore suffered a shock 28-12 loss to the Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round.

Jackson received the MVP award the night before Super Bowl LIV in Miami but told NBC Sports' Peter King of that ceremony: "I'd rather have made the speech on video.

"Like, 'Sorry I couldn't be there.' But, I had to be there. I really didn't want to be on that stage."

On the playoffs, he added: "I think about it a lot, to be honest with you. That's where I wanna be.

"That's when everything gets... crucial. It's tough. I remember [three-time Super Bowl winner] LeGarrette Blount DM'd me on Instagram.

"He was like, you know, playoffs is different from regular season. I'm like, nah. But it is, because it's win or go home. And I'm tired of going home.

"I just can't wait to get back in that same spot and perform at a whole 'nother level.

"I just want to get back to that situation so I can perform different.

"Just put it on my shoulders and go from there. I gotta fight to get back to that situation. It's gonna be a different result this time."

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and RedBird Capital have agreed a $15million deal to purchase the XFL.

The Hollywood actor and former WWE superstar, who played college football for the Miami Hurricanes before making his name in wrestling, teamed up with the private equity firm to buy the league hours before a scheduled auction.

The XFL was relaunched by WWE CEO Vince McMahon in 2020 following an unsuccessful one-season existence back in 2001 but was forced to file for bankruptcy after the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of its season.

Confirming the sale, which is subject to bankruptcy court approval, XFL president Jeffrey Pollack said: "This is a Hollywood ending to our sale process and the start of a fantastic new beginning for the XFL with the best possible ownership group going forward."

In quotes reported by ESPN's Kevin Seifert, Johnson said: "With pride and gratitude for all that I've built with my own two hands, I plan to apply these callouses to the XFL, and look forward to creating something special for the players, fans, and everyone involved for the love of football."

The Atlanta Falcons have added to their secondary with the signing of cornerback Darqueze Dennard.

Dennard had been set to sign for the Jacksonville Jaguars in March after his contract with the Cincinnati Bengals expired.

However, he failed to come to terms with the Jaguars and Jacksonville's loss is now the Falcons' gain.

Dennard boosts a secondary lacking experience after releasing former Pro Bowler Desmond Trufant in March.

Atlanta drafted cornerback A.J. Terrell in the first round of this year's draft, with Isaiah Oliver and Kendall Sheffield, who have just 29 starts between them, also in the mix in the defensive backfield.

Since entering the NFL in 2014, Dennard has 24 starts in 77 games, recording three interceptions and 22 pass breakups.

The Falcons missed the playoffs for the second successive year in 2019 but improved drastically after a 1-7 start to finish the year 7-9.

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has tested positive for coronavirus, the NFL franchise confirmed on Sunday.

The Eagles said Super Bowl-winning coach Pederson is asymptomatic and currently in self-quarantine after contracting COVID-19.

It comes after Eagles star and three-time Pro Bowler Lane Johnson was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday following his coronavirus diagnosis.

"We received confirmation this evening that head coach Doug Pederson tested positive for COVID-19," the Eagles said in a statement.

"Pederson is asymptomatic and doing well. He is currently in self-quarantine and in communication with the team's medical staff.

"The organisation is following the protocols established by the NFL and the NFLPA.

"Any individuals in close contact with Pederson at our facility have been notified and will continue with daily testing procedures and compliance with all protocols before returning to the facility."

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

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay is optimistic the NFL can proceed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2020 NFL season is scheduled to begin on September 10, despite all preseason games being cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Previously, McVay has been sceptical regarding training camp and the NFL season but the 34-year-old coach has faith in the campaign going ahead.

"I feel a lot better now, having a little bit more knowledge and understanding of – it's really about the risk mitigation, keeping our ecosystem clear," McVay said.

The Rams are scheduled to face the Dallas Cowboys in their NFL opener on September 13.

McVay added: "We're still going to play football. I think there's a better understanding of how we apply those risk mitigation practices.

"I made the comment about social distancing – we're not going to do that on the field, but in those meeting settings when you can do that and you're wearing your masks, those are the times that we're going to do that."

"Guys are chomping at the bit to get back and understand that that's going to be part of how we have a successful season – is guys successfully handling themselves in the right way with regards to the risk mitigation," McVay continued.

"We've always just talked about handling yourself in a professional manner outside the building for just good decision making and now that's an added part of it as we navigate through this."

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."

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