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Cheese Curds, 7/29: Opt-outs may leave teams in tough spots, but players deserve respect

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Any player who decides to sit out the 2020 season has balanced difficult factors on both sides.

SiriusXM At Super Bowl LIV - Day 2 Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM

As the Green Bay Packers head toward the start of real training camp activities, rosters around the NFL are starting to feel the effects of players opting out of the 2020 season. A number of big names around the league have elected to sit out, and the Packers got their first taste of that on Tuesday as wide receiver Devin Funchess opted out of the upcoming campaign.

Around the NFC North, though, the biggest names who have opted out are also among the biggest players in a literal sense. Two of the Packers’ divisional rivals have seen their nose tackles choose to opt out, and the football impact of those decisions will certainly be a net negative for their teams.

But while more players decide to sit out — the deadline continues to roll forward until the league and the players union issue a formal agreement on the process — it is worth remembering that this decision is both a difficult one and a deeply personal one for these players. Any individual who opts out deserves the same respect as any player who continues to play.

Packers’ leadership up front remains strong and respected | Packers.com
With Bryan Bulaga now off to play for the Chargers, David Bakhtiari takes over as the veteran leader on the offensive line. Between his and Corey Linsley's presences, there is no shortage of experience or leadership abilities, and the two (plus Elgton Jenkins) form a tremendous group from the center over to the left. The big questions on the field will be about the right side.

Bears’ Eddie Goldman, Vikings’ Michael Pierce opt out of 2020 season | Packers Wire
Meanwhile, in case you missed it on Tuesday, a pair of the division's top nose tackles are sitting out the upcoming season. Goldman has been a Bear for a while and Pierce just signed with Minnesota this offseason, making the road a bit easier for Linsley and company in the middle.

NFL season hinges on willingness to embrace an extremely bumpy ride | Packersnews.com
For now, the league certainly seems willing to accept that there will likely be outbreaks of COVID within team facilities. There could be games canceled or postponed, with teams very possibly playing an unequal number of games.

Tug of war, what-if all-star teams with LeBron James, Aaron Judge, Serena Williams, Lionel Messi and more | ESPN
I don't care who else is on the team. I'm rolling with any squad anchored by Aaron Donald.

2020 Quarterback Tiers: 50 coaches and evaluators rank the NFL starters – The Athletic
Yes, Rodgers is still a tier-one quarterback in the eyes of coaches and scouts. He came in ranked third overall behind only Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson, the only unanimous tier-one QBs.

Finally, since nose tackles are in the news, let’s revisit a fantastic memory from Super Bowl XXXI: