Jets’ Mosley says opt-out was a very tough football decision

NEW YORK (AP) — C.J. Mosley was all set to return this season — healthy and focused on being a big-time playmaker in the middle of the New York Jets’ defense.

The coronavirus pandemic changed all that, causing the veteran linebacker to call an agonizing audible.

Mosley told the Jets last Saturday he was opting out for this season because of family health concerns. During a Facebook Live event on Monday benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project, Mosley cited having a young son as one of the primary reasons behind his choice.

“Because of COVID, my family is my support system with my son,” Mosley said in his first public comments since opting out. “I didn’t want to risk that, obviously. I think just looking at the big picture, just for me, I want to make sure I’m mentally and physically the best person I can be so I can be that leader I know I can be.”

The 28-year-old Mosley was entering his second season with New York after signing a five-year, $85 million deal as a free agent in 2019 following five years in Baltimore. He played in just two games last year for the Jets while dealing with a groin/core muscle injury, and was looking forward to rebounding this season.

“That’s probably the biggest football decision I’ve made in a long time, probably since I picked what college I’m going to,” said Mosley, a first-round pick out of Alabama in 2014.

“That’s a book I’ve got to start writing pretty soon. What’s the next step? Because there’s a lot of negative things people been saying as far as me not playing two years. And there’s a lot of positive things that are being said.

“I’m out a whole year, so I have all this time to mentally get better, to physically get better, kind of readjust and kind of find that flame again.”

Mosley reported with his teammates for training camp last week at the team’s facility in Florham Park, New Jersey, but then decided to skip this season after carefully considering his situation.

Several players around the NFL have chosen to opt out for the season, including Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower and safety Patrick Chung, Chiefs running back Damien Williams, Eagles wide receiver Marquise Goodwin and Packers wide receiver Devin Funchess. Players have until 4 p.m. Thursday to sit out due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mosley was the second key player to be lost for this season on the Jets’ defense after New York traded safety Jamal Adams to Seattle on July 25.

“We’re in a different situation, but I’ve got to look out for my family,” Mosley said. “Sometimes you’ve got to make that small sacrifice. That’s something you might not understand right now, but when you come out on top, everybody’s going to be on your side cheering for you.”


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