Cardinals OT Marcus Gilbert is ‘high risk,’ opts out of 2020 season

Aug 4, 2020, 1:02 PM | Updated: 1:37 pm

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) is helped up by offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert (76)...

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) is helped up by offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert (76) after being sacked for a safety against the Oakland Raiders during the first half of an an NFL football game, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert has opted out of the 2020 season.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Gilbert said he falls under the category of high-risk if he were to get the coronavirus. That and having high-risk family members led to his decision, he wrote.

The news came down just after Kingsbury told reporters on a Zoom call Tuesday he had not had discussions about any Cardinals opting out of the season with the deadline set for Thursday.

In fact, Kingsbury said a week ago that Gilbert was the favorite to start at right tackle for Arizona should he arrive at camp in good health.

“If he can start off at that level then he’s going to slide right back there at right,” Kingsbury said, referencing a strong 2019 training camp before Gilbert suffered a season-ending knee injury in the preseason. “We expect Marcus to slide right in there and do a great job right away.”

Kingsbury said Tuesday that the Cardinals and the league will support any player’s decision to opt out. Gilbert is the first known Cardinal that has decided to sit in 2020.

The Cardinals appear prepared to take on the loss of Gilbert, who has played in just 12 games over the past three seasons. Last year’s 12-game starter, Justin Murray, NFL veteran Kelvin Beachum and rookie third-round pick Josh Jones could fight for a starting role opposite left tackle D.J. Humphries.

Players have until Thursday to declare they are opting out of the season in order to receiver a stipend payment. Those with medical conditions that put them at greater risk due to the coronavirus will receive $350,000, while voluntary opt-outs will receive $150,000 as an advance, the Associated Press reported.

In May, Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson expressed his concern about the coronavirus. At the time, his wife Antonique was seeing the virus first-hand in her residency at a local intensive care unit.

The Petersons also have two young children at home.

“If I feel comfortable enough with those protocols and I feel that’s the safest thing possible for us to be able to come back to work, I’m all in,” Peterson said May 28. “If it’s not … we all would have to make a very, very smart decision. You don’t want to have the opportunity of bringing that (virus) back home.

“I know that the NFL is doing everything that it can, but it’s just so tough to put your finger around how to evolve around this virus.”

On Monday, Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins also said he supported NFL players who decide to opt out but that he felt the NFL was doing its best to keep them safe.

“I play football for a living, but I’m also a family man for a living,” Hopkins said. “Hopefully it doesn’t have to come to that, but I take it day by day. I think in the present moment, not the future. So, seeing guys opt out, I see a lot of guys getting criticism for it and I feel bad for those guys because obviously they’re losing a lot of money.

“To those people, they don’t want to risk what can happen and you can’t blame them. For myself, I’ll take it day by day and I really don’t look past that.”

Kansas City Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif two weeks ago became the first NFL player to opt out. A wave of more players deciding against participating in 2020 followed since then.

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