Drew Forbes of the Cleveland Browns is one of the dozens of NFL players who have opted out of playing for the 2020 season. Brian Hamilton, the player’s agent, spoke to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com on Thursday and told the reporter that the decision not to play was one Forbes “grappled with” for days. He ultimately decided to skip 2020 because he was too concerned about his own health and the health of the people around him.
Forbes has an undisclosed medical condition and his agent said the offensive lineman really didn’t have a choice.
“It’s nothing very serious, but you can’t take any chances with this virus. His life and his family are more important than football,” he said.
Forbes was one of two members of the Browns to opt-out on Wednesday. The other member of the team who decided he wouldn’t play was rookie offensive tackle Drake Dorbeck.
Cabot reported that those who have an approved medical reason not to participate will get a $350,000 stipend from the NFL this year. Any contract they signed that covers 2020 will carry over to 2021 as well. Forbes appears to fall under this category. Those who opted out for non-medical reasons will receive $150,000 with the exception of anyone who was an undrafted free agent. Dorbeck falls into the latter category.
The deadline by which players like Forbes must decide whether or not they’ll play hasn’t been officially set. Cabot wrote it’s thought to be a week after the revised, coronavirus affected Collective Bargaining Agreement was signed. If that is the case, the deadline would be Friday, July 31.
As of Thursday morning, around 30 players have decided to sit out this fall. More are expected to announce.
By deciding not to suit up for the Browns this season, Forbes stands to make about half of what he would have received. His salary for 2020 was set at $675,000 with the possibility of making even more if he hit certain incentives.
Hamilton said one of the reasons the lineman grappled with his decision was because he believed he was a good candidate for a starting spot after playing in just one game in 2019.
“Drew is extremely athletic and a perfect fit for Kevin Stefanski’s (wide zone) scheme. He’ll definitely work hard to pick up next season where he left off.”
Forbes was reportedly expected to compete for a starting job at right guard and was set to go up against incumbent Wyatt Teller and fifth-round pick Nick Harris.