“With the healthy and safety of my family in mind, I have decided to opt out of the 2020 season during these trying times in ‘Our Nation.’ I will miss being there with my teammates, coaches and Jaguar personnel competing on Sundays, but I feel that God has directed my steps to make this decision,” McCray said via a statement released by the team.
“I was honored to be involved in our team’s social justice efforts during this offseason, and I look forward to continuing to support those affected in any way I can. My family and I appreciate the understanding and support of the Jaguars organization and our fans. We are praying and working for the healthy and safety for this great country! #toughtimesdontlasttoughpeopledo”
McCray, who was set to become a free agent this March, re-signed with the Jaguars on a one-year deal. Primarily a special teams player, McCray contributed with 26 tackles, 2.5 sacks and two tackles-for-loss.
“Lerentee has brought depth to our defensive line and has played at a high level on special teams since he joined us in 2017,” Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone said in a statement in March shortly after the team agreed to terms with McCray. “We look forward to bringing him back as a veteran presence in our locker room in 2020.”
The veteran presence will be lost, for at least one season.
McCray’s decision to opt out comes just one day after Jaguars defensive tackle Al Woods made the same decision, doing what is best at this time for himself and his family, something Marrone said would be respected if any player or coach decided to.
“I talked to everyone about it. I talk to the young guys coming in tonight and we’ll mention it to our guys. To stand up here and say that there’s no risk, that’s not true,” Marrone said on Thursday.
“We all have to take risks. So I told the coaches and I told the players that whatever you decide, if you decide to opt out, we respect that decision totally. Same goes for the coaches and what they want to do. At any time you feel uncomfortable, I told the coaches, just tell me and we’ll do what we can do. Right now, everyone’s doing what they’re supposed to do.”
When made official, the Jaguars roster will stand at 82 with six players on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list and two players, Woods and McCray opting out. The team is also missing defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who has yet to sign his franchise tender.