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Alabama’s Najee Harris Says He Never Considered Opting Out

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Alabama running back Najee Harris said that he never considered opting out of the college football season, but says that he’s concerned about starting preseason practice without knowing whether there will be a football season or not, in 2020.

“I’m not trying to go into camp [without] really knowing that we might not have a season or not,” Harris said, according to ESPN’s Alex Scarborough. “It’s just so many uncertainties that it is what it is. That’s something to work with, I have to deal with.”

With the Big Ten and Pac-12 postponing fall sports amid COVID-19, college football has been left in limbo. However,  the SEC, ACC and Big 12 are proceeding with plans to begin the season in September, as of now.

Also, Alabama opens their camp on Monday.

“I’m not trying to go into camp [without] really knowing that we might not have a season or not,” Harris told reporters during a Zoom call. “It’s just so many uncertainties that it is what it is. That’s something to work with, I have to deal with.”

While Harris says that team wants to play, it’s odd not knowing if there will be able to or not.

“We wish there’s more certainty, but we understand this isn’t something that’s going to be known in, like, the next day or something like that, or the next couple of hours,” Harris said. “It’s a pandemic. We understand that.”

As far as Alabama and the SEC handling safety protocols, both Harris and Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones are confident in how it’s being handled.

“I feel comfortable here,” Jones said, “and if I was at home, maybe I wouldn’t even be as safe. I feel like that’s easy for me. I’ve played football since I was 5 years old, and a lot my teammates are the same way. We want to play football. That’s why we came here. We want to play football, and we want to win a national championship, and we want to see some of our players go on to the NFL. That’s just what we want to do. Every day, we take risks, and it might be a little risky, but we feel comfortable and we feel safe.”

Like a lot of college football players, Harris wants to “create value” by playing, as losing a season could ultimately impact his status in the NFL Draft.

“For a running back, age plays such a factor in the next step if you want to go into the NFL,” Harris said. “They look at age so much nowadays. Like me, I came back and I’m already 22. If I come back another season and I’m 23, they’ll probably use that against me.”

“We just wanted the people to hear our voice because, at the end of the day, the players are the ones playing, and we feel safe here, we feel comfortable,” Jones said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of unknowns, but we just wanted to get our voice out there. And obviously, we had a lot of guys that could have left last year and they came back, so we want to play for those guys. We want to play for the younger teammates, we want to play for the whole organization, the state of Alabama.”

Anthony DiMoro is the creator of Sports Rants and the CEO of Elite Rank Media. He is a former Contributor for Forbes and the Huffington Post where he covered sports, social media, and SEO. Anthony formerly hosted the 'Forbes SportsMoney Podcast'.

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