Super Bowl star Damien Williams says mom's cancer diagnosis reason for opt-out

·2-min read

Damien Williams explained his decision to opt out of the 2020 season earlier this week. The Kansas City running back who arguably could have been named Super Bowl LIV MVP in February said he wants to be with his mom after she was diagnosed with cancer.

Williams’ mother has Stage IV cancer

Williams, 28, and the Chiefs announced on Wednesday that Williams was opting out of the 2020 season. He explained why in an interview with Sirius XM NFL Radio on Thursday (h/t Larry Brown Sports).

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“I’m dealing with a family matter. My mom was just diagnosed with cancer and it’s Stage IV. There was no other — that was my decision. With everything that’s going on, she was the only one there for me. I never had the opportunity to have my dad there so my mom is my rock, my everything. So during a hard time like this I think I should be next to her every step.”

Williams: I know Chiefs will handle repeat

Damien Williams in a red Chiefs jersey holding a football during the Super Bowl.
Damien Williams said he opted out of the season to be with his mom, who has Stage IV cancer. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Williams said it was a difficult decision to make and he spoke with everyone in his circle about it.

“My mom was just like, whatever decision, I’m behind you. At the end of the day it’s hard. Football is my life, especially coming off a championship and wanting to do a repeat. Which I know they’re going to handle that. But at the end of the day this is something personal that I have to handle.”

Those with cancer or who are in chemotherapy treatments are at higher risk if they contract COVID-19. He was a key player late in the season for the Chiefs and is missing out on $1.85 million in salary.

The Chiefs gave their support to Williams on Wednesday in the announcement, saying the organization knows “it was made in the best interest of his family.” They will turn to first-round draft pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire this year. The former LSU star was the first running back selected in the draft.

The deadline for players to opt out is Aug. 3.

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