Patriots player opts out of upcoming NFL season

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New England Patriots fullback Danny Vitale is opting out.

Agent Leigh Steinberg confirmed to USA TODAY Sports that Vitale, a fifth-year veteran who joined the Patriots as a free agent this year, is taking the leave of absence option afforded NFL players due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Vitale and his wife, Caley, are parents to a newborn baby.

Vitale spent the past two seasons with the Green Bay Packers and started 15 games in 2019.

He’s the third known player to exercise the opt-out clause, joining Kansas City Chiefs offensive guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Ravens wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas. Seattle Seahawks offensive guard Chance Warmack also plans to opt out, his agent confirmed to the Seattle Times on Monday, and NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Dallas Cowboys cornerback Maurice Canady will do the same.

Washington defensive lineman Caleb Brantley was listed on Monday’s transaction report as a high-risk opt-out.

Players who voluntarily opt out will receive a $150,000 stipend as a salary advance on their contracts, which will be tolled for one year. Vitale signed a one-year deal worth approximately $1.3 million.

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