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Jacksonville Jaguars DT Al Woods opts out of 2020 NFL season

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Woods becomes the first opt out of the season for the Jaguars.

Minnesota Vikings v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Al Woods has opted out of the 2020 NFL season. He is the team’s first opt out in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While I was excited to join the Jaguars, I have made the tough decision, given the current status of COVID-19, to opt out for the 2020 season,” Woods said in a statement released by the team. “The health and safety of my family has always been the most important thing in my life. I love the game of football and will be rooting hard for my teammates this season, and I look forward to re-joining the Jaguars in 2021.”

Woods was originally drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. The 6-foot-4, 330-pound, defensive tackle has played for multiple teams, most recently the Seattle Seahawks.

The Jaguars signed Woods as an unrestricted free agent earlier this offseason to a one-year, $2.75 million deal. The deal included $1 million guaranteed. Woods was expected to compete at the team’s nose tackle position, replacing veteran defensive lineman Marcell Dareus who was allowed to enter free agency this season.

“As I mentioned to our media yesterday, we all understand the risk associated with COVID-19, and we will fully support any of our players and coaches that choose to opt out this season,” Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said in a statement today. “It is important for every individual to feel comfortable and to believe that they’re doing what’s right for themselves and their family. As an organization, we respect Al’s decision and are fully understanding.”

The current deadline for a player to opt out of the 2020 season has not yet been finalized by the NFL and NFLPA. It is not known whether or not Woods chose the voluntary or high-risk opt out.

Last season was the defensive tackle’s second stint with the Seahawks after first joining the team in 2011 before moving on. In 2019, Woods tallied 32 tackles (16 solos), three tackles for loss, one quarterback hit, and one sack while starting five games.

Typically playing nose tackle, the impressive run defender was graded highly by Pro Football Focus (77.7 run defense grade), and accounted for 13 stops.

The Jaguars spent much of this offseason addressing the team’s run defense. Along with signing Woods, the team selected defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton with their third-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. Hamilton is currently listed on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list as the rookies reported for testing last week.

In his career, Woods has accumulated 204 tackles (109 solos), 19 tackles for loss, 12 quarterback hits, and 5.5 sacks in 48 career starts.