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Giants LT Nate Solder Opts Out of 2020 Season

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New York Giants left tackle Nate Solder has opted out of the 2020 season, he announced Wednesday on Twitter.

Solder cited the health of his family as his main reasoning to sit out this year. His son Hudson has been battling cancer for the last four years, and he is a cancer survivor himself. He and his wife Lexi also have a newborn, their son Emerson who was born this spring.

“With fear and trembling, we struggle to keep our priorities in order and, for us, our children’s health and the health of our neighbors comes before football,” Solder said in a statement.

Solder is one of the highest-profile players yet to opt out this season. Other notables include New England Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Marquise Goodwin. Both players also have newborns at home and referenced preexisting conditions in their families.

While Solder’s absence will be a loss for the Giants, it will be the Steelers’ gain. Pittsburgh opens up the 2020 season on the road against the Giants at MetLife Stadium.

Without Solder, the Giants may be starting two rookies at tackle when the teams meet on Sept. 14 in first-rounder Andrew Thomas and third-rounder Matt Peart. That is far from an ideal scenario when T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree are coming off the edge, a duo that combined for 26 sacks a year ago.

Solder is the fourth-highest paid left tackle in the league, according to Spotrac. He was set to make $9.9 million in base salary this year, and count $19.5 million against the Giants’ salary cap.

NFL

NFL to Close Team Facilities Monday & Tuesday; Steelers-Ravens Not Impacted

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The NFL will shut down all 32 team practice facilities on Monday and Tuesday in response to the rising levels of COVID-19 positives around the league and fear that the Thanksgiving holiday could introduce a wave of additional cases into the league.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced the changes in a memo to teams on Friday. Most teams do not practice on Monday or Tuesday, with the facility only open for meetings, treatments, physical training and weight training.

The closure will not impact teams that will still be preparing for their Week 12 games: the Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks, who play on Monday night, and the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, who are scheduled to play on Tuesday night. The Ravens have already made the decision to close their facility through Monday thanks to their ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

The NFLPA is also instructing members that had guests over for the holiday to get a point-of-care test before they return to the team’s facility.

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NFL

Mic Drop: The NFL Doesn’t Want Forfeits, and Neither Should You

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Even though it’s not fair the Steelers are being jerked around because of the actions of someone with their opponent, and even though it’s understandable for players and fans to be upset, Mike Asti explains that the Ravens, or any NFL team, forfeiting a game would not be a good thing for anyone and impact way more than just the teams taking the W and L.

Watch every episode of Mic Drop on Pittsburgh Sports Live.

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NFL Announces Stiffened Mask Mandate for Sidelines

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As COVID-19 cases surge across the country and rise around the league, the NFL announced stricter sideline mask mandates in a memo to clubs Monday.

Beginning with Thursday’s slate of games, all player not entering the game or wearing a helmet will be required to wear a mask or gaiter on the sideline.

Similar to how multiple head coaches were punished at the start of the season for violating the mask protocol, players will also now be punished for failing to comply.

“Players who fail to wear masks on the sidelines will be subject to discipline,” the league said in Monday’s memo. “Clubs are required to enforce these rules. Violations by players and/or staff will result in accountability measures being imposed upon the Club.”

In additions, coaches will no longer be allowed to wear a face shield in lieu, as they will also be required to have a mask or gaiter on underneath it.

Lastly, the league will further limit postgame interactions between players, which was already a point of emphasis within the protocols when the season started. Players will be allowed to “briefly” engage with opponents following the completion of games, but will be required to wear face covering while they do so.

The league also encouraged clubs to designate members of each organization as enforcers of the updates policies.

The Pittsburgh Steelers host the Baltimore Ravens on Thanksgiving night, who shut down their practice facility Monday following multiple cases within the organization, including running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins.

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