"Although this will unfortunately end my 2020 season, it is really a blessing that we found this," Minnesota Vikings linebacker Cameron Smith said

By Eric Todisco
August 09, 2020 12:15 PM
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Cameron Smith
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Minnesota Vikings linebacker Cameron Smith will be skipping the 2020 season due to a congenital heart condition he discovered after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.

The 23-year-old NFL star opened up about his diagnosis in a candid Instagram post on Saturday, writing, "Earlier this week I found out I need open heart surgery to fix a bicuspid aortic valve that I was born with."

"Although this will unfortunately end my 2020 season, it is really a blessing that we found this as my heart is severely enlarged and wouldn’t have lasted much longer," he said. "I found this out after I tested positive for COVID and had to have further testing done as protocol. The Lord works in mysterious ways, but I could really feel him on this one!🙏🏻."

Smith said that after the surgery, which he "didn't think twice about" choosing to undergo, he will be able to continue playing football once healed.

"By no means am I ready to be done playing football, there is still so much more I want to accomplish on the field," he said. "I'm going to attack this like everything else I have in life. Already looking forward to the comeback! #SKOL."

Smith was a four-year starter at the University of Southern California before being selected by the Vikings as a fifth-round pick during the 2019 NFL Draft.

According to ESPN, he played in five games in his rookie year for the Vikings and notched eight tackles.

Smith is now the latest NFL star to opt-out of the upcoming season amid the pandemic. Others include Caleb Brantley (Washington Football Team), Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Damian Williams (Kansas City Chiefs), Maurice Canady (Dallas Cowboys), Chance Warmack (Seattle Seahawks), De'Anthony Thomas (Baltimore Ravens) and Danny Vitale (New England Patriots).

Cameron Smith
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The deadline for NFL players to opt-out due to the coronavirus crisis was on Aug. 6, with the regular season scheduled to begin on Sept. 10.

Players who choose the high-risk opt-out option — offered to those with defined health conditions — will receive a $350,000 stipend for the season and their contracts will be tolled until the following season, the NFL said. These players will also receive an accrued season toward free agency and benefits and salary credit for a credited season.

Voluntary opt-outs of the season will receive a $150,000 salary advance and their contract will toll as well.

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