AP sources: Pats' Hightower, Cannon opting out of season (copy)

LB Dont’a Hightower is one of several Patriots opting out of the 2020 season.

Brady and Brees aren’t the B words dominating the opening of NFL training camps.

Try baseball and babysitting.

As veterans report Tuesday for COVID-19 testing, with on-field work far on the horizon for now, eyeballs are focused on the pandemic issues in Major League Baseball. The coronavirus outbreak with the Miami Marlins, who won’t be playing any games the rest of this week, is foremost in the football world.

“You know, for what’s going on in baseball right now, it affects everyone,” Jets quarterback Sam Darnold said. “I mean, because you look at the game the Marlins had and, you know, they affect the players on the other team and then the dugouts are then infected. There’s no good way of really going about it. And you’ve got to start canceling games.”

The biggest news from NFL teams Tuesday dealt with opt-outs. Any player who decides not to play this season will get a $150,000 stipend if it is a voluntary move, and $350,000 if it is for pre-existing medical reasons.

Opting out were several key members of the New England Patriots: linebacker Dont’a Hightower, a defensive leader; safety Patrick Chung; offensive tackle Marcus Cannon; running back Brandon Bolden; and fullback Dan Vitale, according to people familiar with the decisions who spoke on condition of anonymity because the moves have not been announced.

Defensive tackles Star Lotulelei of Buffalo and Kyle Peko of Denver, Eagles receiver Marquise Goodwin, Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Vikings defensive tackle Michael Pierce, and Ravens kick returner De’Anthony Thomas also have opted out.

• SHOWING UP: Running back Dalvin Cook arrived at Minnesota’s facility for coronavirus testing as scheduled with the rest of the team’s veterans. Cook, who has begun the fourth and final year of his rookie contract with a base salary of slightly more than $1.3 million, is seeking a new deal. He backed out of the virtual offseason program last month after negotiations stalled.

• INJURIES/ILLNESSES: The Titans placed their top draft pick, offensive lineman Isaiah Wilson of Georgia, on the COVID-19/reserve list. Wilson remains the one member of their six-man draft class who hasn’t agreed to a contract. Linebacker Jayon Brown will start training camp on the physically unable to perform list.

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