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Andrew Billings doesn’t regret opting out after watching Myles Garrett battle COVID-19

The Browns are facing a difficult decision this offseason: extend Baker Mayfield now or wait and face having to pay him more later.

Defensive tackle Andrew Billings was one of many players who decided to opt out of the 2020 season. But his decision carried some risk, as he signed a one-year deal with the Browns following the completion of his rookie contract with Cincinnati.

While several players who opted out have been cut from their respective teams, Billings remains with the Browns as Phase Three of the offseason program begins. And watching the effect contracting COVID-19 had on teammate Myles Garrett, Billings doesn’t regret his decision from last summer.

“It made me realize, ‘thank God that didn’t happen to me,’” Billings said, via Mary Kay Cabot of “I played with asthma all of my life, so seeing him go through that, I could relate.

“Myles Garrett is an A-plus player, so if that were to happen to me, at my position and at my size [6-foot-1, 328 pounds], I don’t know if I could’ve handled that. … I know he had it kind of bad, but you never know. I could’ve had it worse, or I could’ve had it easier. I could’ve had it for a day or I could’ve had it for three months. I just wasn’t willing to take that bet.”

Fortunately for Billings, he didn’t have to. Now he has a chance to make Cleveland’s roster on a defense that has made significant upgrades over the offseason. Billings has appeared in 47 games with 37 starts, recording 3.5 career sacks, 14 tackles for loss, and 12 quarterback hits.

“I’m glad there’s another season coming and I’m here to play,” Billings said.