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Texans Whitney Mercilus, Randall Cobb discuss making tough decision to play during pandemic

Many players will have to take extreme precautions

HOUSTON – Texans longtime linebacker Whitney Mercilus is preparing for a season like no other.

“It’s a unique time,” Mercilus said. “It’s nothing anyone could have foreseen.”

He said he’s taking the virus seriously.

“COVID is not a joke,” Mercilus said. “I’ve actually heard experiences of people having it and having a tough time with it, and some people who have been asymptomatic. So, the effect of the disease ranges between person to person. I think it’s a great job as far as what they’ve done in order to give players an option to opt-out and not to be selfish, whether for themselves or for their families as well.”

The Texans new wide receiver, Randall Cobb made his voice known on social media last month that he and many others wanted clarity from the NFL on COVID-19.

“I think that’s all people were looking for,” Cobb said. “The option to know what would happen if you chose X or Y.”

Every day, more players announce they’re opting out. Cobb and Mercilus said the decision to play was not an easy one.

“You know it’s tough because I like to be around my family,” Mercilus said. “My sister just had a baby girl, so I like to be around my niece a lot, so it’s tough. I don’t want to be selfish as far as that goes.”

Mercilus added that he and his family made the decision that he would socially distance himself during the season.

“I didn’t take this decision lightly. I have two young children at home,” Cobb said. “My wife’s parents are above 65, so we understand the risk that we are faced with if they were to visit. It was a decision that definitely weighed heavily on me. "