Harlem graduate McKinney discusses his decision to put his NFL dream on hold


ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — The list of names of NFL players who have decided to opt out on this season keeps growing. One of the names on that list is Harlem High School graduate Anthony McKinney.

McKinney signed with the Tennessee Titans in April as an undrafted rookie free agent, but he told the Titans recently that he’s opting out. He told them what he told me in a phone interview, that he has family members here in the Rockford area who have been exposed to the Coronavirus.

“I have family members who were exposed in the earlier stages of the pandemic and it was really, really scary, really concerning,” said McKinney. “The day going into camp we were just about to start up camp, I get a phone call that morning about another possible case of corona in my family. I’m not going to disclose the severity of it, but with another wave coming up in Nashville it just made sense for me and my family for their safety for me to come back.”

McKinney was a starting offensive tackle for Texas Christian Unviersity the last two years. Like most young men he had high hopes of playing in the NFL. He’s still interested in pursuing that goal in the future, but his family comes first and this situation with the coronavirus has given him a deeper perspective on life and what’s important to him.

“I’ve learned to hold onto not as much weight and just give it to God. And I lift this situation and my problems to Him.” “Really the focus for me is just to focus on not only my family and take care of them, but to continue to focus and evolve myself as well.”

As an undrafted rookie McKinney won’t be eligible for the $150,000 stipend that other NFL players who opt out will receive. McKinney remains confident that he’ll get another shot at the NFL next year.

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