David Andrews is keeping his eyes on the field after a 2019 season that ended in August due to blood clots in his lungs.
But the center and captain understands why several of his New England Patriots teammates won’t be alongside him this August.
“It’s something obviously we all have to think about and make our own choices,” Andrews, 28, told reporters during his video conference on Sunday. “My choice has been made, and it’s something I feel comfortable with. To have the opportunity to go out and play, talking with doctors and my wife, it’s something we feel comfortable with. I’m just excited to get the chance to go out there and compete again.”
An NFL-leading eight members of New England’s roster have opted out due to coronavirus concerns over the past week.
That list includes running back Brandon Bolden, fullback Danny Vitale, wide receiver Marqise Lee, tight end Matt LaCosse and offensive linemen Marcus Cannon and Najee Toran on Andrews’ side of the ball. Fellow captains from past and present on the defensive side in linebacker Dont’a Hightower and safety Patrick Chung have done the same.
“You obviously have to talk about it, right? I mean, it’s something we’ve never faced,” added Andrews. “Not that I ever can really remember having to deal with something like this – especially as a grown-up. I mean, you’ve got to talk about it, and obviously me and my wife have. I’ve made a decision that we feel comfortable with, and like I said, I’m just super ecstatic to get this thing going here.”
Since arriving as an undrafted free agent out of Georgia in 2015, Andrews has started 66 of his 71 games for the Patriots between the regular season and playoffs. There are openings for others to take a similar path, even with 14 padded practices and the cancellation of the preseason.
Openings that didn’t appear so open before.
“A lot of guys now are going to have a lot of great opportunities,” said Andrews, who set out as a rookie backup to former Florida State Rimington Trophy winner Bryan Stork. “I kind of think about how I got my start in this league with guys being banged-up. Different circumstances, but I got an opportunity that maybe I wouldn’t have if guys were healthy at times. A lot of young guys now, and younger players are going to have big opportunities. Just got to take them and run with them.”