The Patriots lost another player for the 2020 season Saturday when wide receiver Marqise Lee elected to opt out, according to a league source.
Lee, who signed as free agent in April after six seasons in Jacksonville, is the seventh New England player to make the choice to put football on the shelf because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
Lee later told ESPN he welcomed his first child, a daughter, Alia, in February.
“People who know my background and where I came from, and things like that, I didn’t really have my pops in my life. I never really had a real father figure besides coaches as I got older,” Lee told ESPN. “This is my opportunity to be there for my daughter. I was hoping she could be there watching this season, but clearly she wasn’t going to be able to do that. I felt like it was important to just spend this year with her, and get back to it next year. Football is going to be there at the end of the day.”
The 29-year-old Lee, who signed a one-year, $1-million deal, joins fellow Patriots Dont’a Hightower, Patrick Chung, Marcus Cannon, Brandon Bolden, Danny Vitale, and Najee Toran on the sideline.
The Patriots’ remaining receivers include Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, N’Keal Harry, Damiere Byrd, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski, Devin Ross, and Jeff Thomas.
With five roster spots open, it’s possible the club could re-sign undrafted rookies Isaiah Zuber or Sean Riley, who were released last Sunday in the initial cut down to 80 players.