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Patriots News Blitz 7/28: Hightower, Cannon opt out

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With players set to arrive this week and training camps preparing to open across the league, several players have decided against returning at all. That's been the case in New England as well, where five players have reportedly opted to sit out the 2020 season in an effort to keep their families safe from the effects of the coronavirus.

ESPN.com has the list, which includes linebacker Dont’a Hightower, running back Brandon Bolden, fullback Dan Vitale, tackle Marcus Cannon and offensive lineman Najee Toran. The Boston Globe also has a report and includes information about the Patriots updated coaching staff. NBC Sports Boston believes Vitale's absence will create more opportunities for the rookie tight ends. Boston Sports Journal analyzes the curveball thrown at the Patriots in regard to the opt-outs.

With all of the comings and goings, the Patriots decided to bring back wide receiver Will Hastings after releasing the undrafted rookie on Sunday.

Assuming the season eventually gets underway, the Boston Herald looks at how the offense might change under the direction of Cam Newton. Boston Sports Journal wonders if Ja’Whaun Bentley is ready for a major role.

The Washington Post has a breakdown of the protocols in the even that a player tests positive during the season.

The Athletic offers a roster projection and predict a wild ride to get there. NBC Sports Boston tries to figure out the meaning of the early cuts of the rookies. MassLive.com looks at five potential camp battles to watch.

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