Marcus Gilbert becomes third former Gator to opt out of NFL season
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Marcus Gilbert becomes third former Gator to opt out of NFL season

A trio of ex-Florida players have opted out of the 2020 NFL season over COVID-19 concerns, with Marcus Gilbert being the latest.

The former Gator and Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle announced his decision Tuesday on Twitter.

"After much thought and prayer, I have decided to opt out of the 2020 NFL season," Gilbert wrote. "While this decision was not easy for me, I felt it was the best decision due to my standing as a high-risk player with high-risk family members.

"I am grateful for the opportunities that have been afforded to me over many years in the NFL and I am looking forward to returning stronger than ever for the 2021 NFL season. Furthermore, I am sending out my thoughts and prayers for the safety and success of my teammates and all those playing across the league this year."

Gilbert, who spent 2019 with Arizona and re-signed after eight years in Pittsburgh, will receive a $350,000 stipend as a high-risk opt-out. Ex-UF defensive lineman Caleb Brantley, now with Washington, was the first NFL player to take that option last week.

A third former Gator, Jacksonville's Lerentee McCray, announced Saturday that he'll skip the season as a voluntary opt-out, which pays him a $150,000 stipend.

''I will miss being there with my teammates, coaches, and Jaguar personnel competing on Sundays, but I feel that God has directed my steps to make this decision,'' McCray said in a statement. ''I was honored to be involved in our team's social justice efforts during the offseason, and I look to continuing to support those affected in any way I can."