Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams opted out of the 2020 season because his mom is fighting cancer, and he wanted to be there for her. As Matt Conner of Arrow Head Addict wrote on Saturday, Williams doesn’t regret his decision, but he did admit it’s going to be hard to watch his team defend their Super Bowl championship from home.
Williams recently made an appearance on Anderson Cooper’s show and talked a bit more about the reason he opted out. He told the CNN personality that the biggest reason he decided to sit out the Chiefs’ 2020 season is that his mother had made all kinds of sacrifices for him. He felt it was time to repay her and stand by her side.
Williams technically used the coronavirus pandemic as the reason for why he wasn’t going to play. Conner said the running back was a bit worried that if he was taking part in the season and then going to see his mother, he could pass the virus on to her, without even knowing he had it.
Williams talked about the pain of sitting and watching. He also mentioned how long it had been since he had to do it.
“It most definitely will be [painful]. At the end of the day, I just feel like it’s just something I had to do. It’s something I’ve prepared for,” he said. “It’s something I’m ready for. It’s gonna be hard to watch but I’m cheering at home, guys … I think I’ve had to miss out on football one time and that was in high school, and that’s because we had to transfer schools and I had to sit out a year. But that was 12 or 13 years ago.”
The deadline to opt out has come and gone. That means that even if Williams decided he wanted to play after all, it’s too late.
The good news for the running back is that even though he didn’t decide to sit out explicitly because of the coronavirus, he’ll still be able to do so without any negative repercussions.
The Super Bowl hero, who some thought should have won the MVP, will be able to return to Kansas City’s sidelines in 2021 under the terms of the same contract he would have played this year under. He’ll be 29 next spring, meaning he’ll still be in the “peak” years of his career.
For the team’s part, there are several analysts around the NFL who believe Williams sitting out could end up being a net positive for the offense. Rookie runner Clyde Edwards-Helaire is expected to step into the void, and most think he’ll put up big numbers, teamed up with Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and the rest.