New England Patriots

Sep 11, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriot logos on the podium during the press conference before practice at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

98.5 The Sports Hub staff report

A pair of New England Patriots took Monday to officially opt out of the 2020 NFL season.

Fullback Danny Vitale was the first Patriot to opt out, as agent Leigh Steinberg confirmed to USA Today Sports. It would appear that Vitale is being ultra-cautious as his wife, Caley, recently gave birth to a child.

Vitale, who appeared in 15 games for the Packers in 2019, was considered the favorite to replace the retired James Develin as New England’s fullback. His decision to opt out has made Jakob Johnson the de facto leader in the clubhouse.

And Vitale didn’t have to wait long to be joined by another Patriot, as offensive lineman Najee Toran will also opt out of playing this season, according to the Boston Globe’s Jim McBride.

Toran spent the 2019 season on New England’s practice squad, and was signed to a futures contract in January.

Vitale and Toran may not be the only Pats to stay home this season, either, as 98.5 The Sports Hub Jim Murray said on Monday’s Felger & Mazz program that he’s hearing that Marcus Cannon will also opt out.

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