Broncos Bears preseason (copy)

Denver Broncos nose tackle Kyle Peko warms up before a preseason game against the Chicago Bears in this 2018 Gazette file photo.

Defensive tackle Kyle Peko became the first Broncos player to opt out of this season due to concerns about COVID-19, a source confirmed Tuesday morning.

During a media conference, general manager John Elway said Peko had a "pre-condition."

"He stated that was the reason why he was opting out, because he was more susceptible and it was more dangerous for him," Elway said. "(The team) understood that."

Asked if the Broncos will have more players opting out before Saturday's deadline, Elway said: "There have been some rumblings about a couple of guys but haven't heard anything else yet."

Peko, 27, was signed off Indianapolis' practice squad last December and appeared in two games. He was previously with the Broncos for parts of 2016-17. A long-shot to make the Week 1 roster, Peko's decision means the Broncos are currently at 81 players and need to make one more roster move on Tuesday.

The NFL and NFLPA last week established an opt-out system.

Players deemed to be high risk for COVID-19 are eligible for a $350,000 stipend and their contracts would roll over into 2021, but they still would earn an accrued season. High-risk conditions include cancer, asthma, sickle cell disease and high blood pressure. Peko would fall into this category.

A player who opts out voluntarily is eligible to receive $150,000 if he earned an accrued season in 2019 or is a 2020 draft pick. The money is an advance against future earnings to the player's contract.

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