By Ryan Mayer

(CBS4)- The Denver Broncos announced Monday that right tackle Ja’wuan James has opted out of the upcoming 2020 season. James said in a statement that while the decision was a difficult one, his top priority is his newborn son. He says that he has already seen one family member hospitalized due to COVID-19 and he doesn’t want to see it happen again.

“After continuous conversation with my family over the past couple weeks about the NFL figuring out the plan for the 2020 season, I’ve decided to opt out,” said James in a statement. “It is tough, but the right decision. There’s just too much unknown about this virus & about plans handling it going forward. My wife & I were blessed with our newborn son May 22 & he’s now my top priority. Although I worked all offseason & invest in my body to bounce back & have a great year on the field, it’s just not worth risking the health of my loved ones. I’ve seen this virus already hospitalize one of my family members & hope to not have that happen again. We can’t live in fear or just confine ourselves just to our homes but we all have to make the right conscious choices and navigate through day to day life to protect our neighbors.”

The 28-year-old James was expected to be a starter for the team this season after missing all but three games last season due to injuries. James signed a four-year $51 million contract with $32 million guaranteed in free agency with the team prior to last season.

With James out, the presumptive starters at tackle are former first round pick Garrett Bolles and Elijah Wilkinson. The 25-year-old Wilkinson is currently on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list but is expected to able to return to practice later this month.

Ryan Mayer

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