The Carolina Panthers announced that linebacker Jordan Mack will opt out of playing in the 2020 NFL season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mack, an undrafted rookie out of Virginia, is one of many NFL players this week to choose not to play this season. Around the league, several higher-profile players like Dont’a Hightower and Patrick Chung — both with the New England Patriots — opt out as well.
Adam Seifer, Mack’s agent, told the Charlotte Observer that the rookie linebacker came to his decision while evaluating what’s best for he and his family.
ICYMI: Rookie Jordan Mack becomes the first Carolina Panther to opt out of 2020 season during COVID-19 pandemic.
What that means for him and the Panthers https://t.co/Hrmh59cfXt
— Jonathan M Alexander (@jonmalexander) July 29, 2020
As an undrafted player, Mack was likely a long shot to make the team’s final roster; however, if he decides to play during the 2021 season, Carolina retains his rights.
During his college career, Mack was a key defensive piece of Bronco Mendenhall’s rebuild at UVA. Mack collected 289 tackles, 25.5 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks over four seasons with Virginia. While helping guide Virginia to a Coastal Division title in 2019, Mack recorded 69 total tackles and 7.5 sacks.
(Mack was a part of an excellent linebacker corp while in Charlottesville, which remains strong with Charles Snowden and Noah Taylor rushing off the edges in 2020 — potentially.)
Back in June 2015, Mack committed to Virginia, while Mike London was still the program’s head coach. (Mack actually gave an interview to ACCSports.com a couple weeks ago his commitment.) However, in between Mack’s commitment and National Signing Day 2016, Virginia let go of London and hired Mendenhall. Late in the 2015 calendar year, though, Mendenhall visited Mack’s home outside of Atlanta. The meeting went well; Mack signed, and the rest is history.
Before his career in Charlottesville was over, Mack was named the winner of the 2019 Tatum Award, given to the ACC’s top senior student-athlete.
While in Charlottesville, Virginia’s win total grew every year with Mack in the lineup: 2, 6, 8 and 9.
A couple other former ACC stars elsewhere in the NFL have also opted out of the 2020 season: Bears defensive tackle Eddie Goldman (Florida State) and Cowboys cornerback Maurice Canady (Virginia).