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Dave Birkett shares his thoughts and answers your questions about the Detroit Lions on the eve of training camp on Monday, July 27, 2020.

Detroit Free Press

Detroit Lion-protected John Atkins is giving up the NFL season this fall amid a coronavirus pandemic.

Last season, Atkins played in 12 games with six starts for the Lions, and is expected to compete for a place in training camp.

The 27-year-old is the 28th famous player to give up the season and join the growing list of defensive liners.

On Tuesday, Chicago Bears’ Eddie Goldman and Minnesota defensive shell Michael Pierce said they would not play this fall.

Goldman and Pierce are the two best defenders in the NFL, and although Atkins does not command equal attention in the foreground, his decision to spend the off-season leaves the Lions without a turning point in one of their weakest positions.

The Lions have signed Danny Shelton and Nick Williams to have free agents deal with this offseason, and both are expected to play key roles on the defensive line along with Trey Kvitk and Da’Shoan Hand.

Romeo Okvara is likely to have a spare spot in the defense, while Atkins had to compete with newcomers John Penisini and Jason Cornell, and veterinarians Kevin Strong and Frank Herron returned for the rating.

Lions general manager Bob Quinn said that early Wednesday he knew any players who planned to spend the season, but he suggested that these discussions continue between the players and their families.

“I’m not sure where the players are in that regard,” Quinn said in a video conference. “I haven’t heard any questions from me about this. I’m sure (the players and their families) are having internal conversations. I think everyone in the league is there, so I have nothing to report on this aspect.”

NFL players have seven days from the ratification of changes to the collective agreement to make an irrevocable decision to abandon the season. The seven-day opt-out window has not yet begun, and players may choose to opt out later due to new health issues.

Players who refuse because they fall into the risk category will receive a payout of $ 350,000 per season, while others will receive an advance payment of $ 150,000 for a 2,021 salary.

All players who refuse are awarded contracts.

Quinn said the Lions were scheduled to make an information call with the players’ families on Wednesday night to discuss coronavirus problems and explain ways to prevent them from spreading. He also said the team had made its doctors available to privately answer any questions players or their families had about the virus.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. Read more about the Detroit Lions and subscribe to our Lions newsletter.