Detroit Lions waive DT John Atkins, who opted out of 2020 NFL season due to COVID concerns

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Of the three Detroit Lions who opted out of the 2020 season, just one is left on the current roster.

The Lions waived defensive tackle John Atkins on Wednesday, freeing up one spot on their 90-man roster.

Atkins sat out the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He made six starts in 2019, but appeared to be a roster long shot for 2021 with a new coaching staff and different defensive scheme.

Detroit Lions defensive tackle John Atkins (99) tackles Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery during the first half Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019 at Ford Field.
Detroit Lions defensive tackle John Atkins (99) tackles Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery during the first half Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019 at Ford Field.

The Lions previously cut offensive lineman Russell Bodine, another opt-out from last season. Wide receiver Geronimo Allison, who opted out of 2020 after signing a one-year free agent deal with the Lions last spring, remains on the roster.

Players who opted out of playing in 2020 had their contracts toll for 2021.

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Atkins did not take part in the Lions' voluntary organized team activities practice that was open to reporters last Thursday.

On Tuesday, the Lions signed defensive tackle Brian Price to replace the injured Joel Heath.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions waive DT John Atkins, who opted out of 2020 NFL season