Bills’ EJ Gaines opts out of 2020 NFL season

EJ Gaines will not play in 2020.

The Buffalo Bills are gearing up for a run at the AFC East now that Tom Brady has left the division, but Sean McDermott, Devin Singletary, and the dominant Buffalo defense will have to do so without backup cornerback EJ Gaines.

Gaines, a former sixth-round pick who missed the entire 2019 season, was supposed to be a quality backup in one of the league’s best secondaries, but he decided to sit the 2020 season out due to some personal concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

EJ Gaines was supposed to have a bounce-back year in 2020.

Gaines is the second Bill to skip 2020 due to coronavirus fears, as space-eating defensive tackle Star Lotulelei also chose to sit the season out. While Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds will once again lead one of the league’s best defenses in 2020, losing a key starter and solid depth piece in Lotulelei and Gaines will sting for McDermott and the Bills.

Gaines has been in the league since 2014, when he was drafted by the St. Louis Rams, but he has now missed three full seasons. Gaines missed all of 2015 because of a Lisfranc injury, and was not as effective during his first stint with the Bills in 2017. After a year in Cleveland, he re-signed with the Bills, but he didn’t play in 2019 after suffering an injury in the preseason. In his career, Gaines has recorded 198 tackles, 33 pass breakups, and four interceptions. 

The Bills didn’t wait long to sign a cornerback who will replace Gaines, as they added former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Akeem King following the news.

Gaines could have used 2020 as a springboard to re-establish himself in the pros, but he instead chose to put his health and safety above his personal pursuits. Gaines deserves respect for that decision in these uncertain times.

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