Atkins joins a number of defensive linemen across the league electing to opt out. He’s the first known player from Detroit to forego the 2020 season.
Atkins, 27, was signed by the Patriots as an undrafted free agent out of Georgia in 2018. New England waived him coming out of the preseason, though, and he caught on with the Lions’ practice squad.
Atkins has bounced on and off the Lions practice squad since then, ending 2019 on the active roster after being promoted in October.
In 2019, Atkins appeared in 12 games for the Lions and recorded 20 tackles with no sacks. Pro Football Focus rated Atkins as the No. 115 interior defender out of 119 qualifying players.