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Damien Williams’ mom’s cancer diagnosis led to decision to opt out

Chiefs running back Damien Williams says he decided to opt out of the 2020 NFL season after his mom was diagnosed with cancer.

“I’m dealing with a family matter, my mom was just diagnosed with cancer and it’s Stage 4, so that was my decision,” Williams said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “With everything that’s going on, she was the only one there for me. I never had the opportunity to have my dad there. My mom is my rock, my everything, so during a hard time like this, I think I should be next to her every step.”

Williams said the decision wasn’t easy, but it was the right decision for him to put his full attention on his own health and his mom’s health during the pandemic.

“It was hard, I sat down and talked to everybody in my circle, my family and everybody close to me,” Williams said. “My mom was just like, whatever’s your decision, I’m behind you. It was hard. Football is my life and coming off a championship and wanting a repeat — and I know they’re going to handle that — but at the end of the day, it was something personal I had to handle.”

Players who opt out of the season receive an advance on their salaries and then will play the 2021 season under the terms of their contracts for 2020. For Williams, that means he’ll make $1.85 million in 2021, minus the amount of his 2020 stipend, and will then hit free agency in 2022.


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