Chiefs offensive guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has seen firsthand the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic. Duvernay-Tardif, the first active NFL player to graduate from medical school, has spent his offseason working the front lines.
He has served as a doctor at a long-term care facility in his hometown of Montreal, Quebec.
Duvernay-Tardif announced Friday night he will opt out of the 2020 season to continue his work in the medical field.
“This is one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make in my life, but I must follow my convictions and do what I believe is right for me personally,” Duvernay-Tardif wrote on social media. “That is why I have decided to take the Opt Out Option negotiated by the league and the NFLPA and officially opt out of the 2020 NFL season.
“Being at the front line during this offseason has given me a different perspective on this pandemic and the stress it puts on individuals and our healthcare system. I cannot allow myself to potentially transmit the virus to our communities simply to play the sport I love. If I am to take risks, I will do it caring for patients.
“I want to thank everyone in the Kansas City Chiefs organization for their support and understanding.”
Duvernay-Tardif’s decision came not long after the NFL and NFLPA agreed to an irrevocable opt-out plan Friday that will provide a stipend and will have contracts toll to 2021. Duvernay-Tardif was scheduled to make $2.75 million this season but instead will receive $150,000 from the NFL’s op-out deal.
He is the first player publicly to announce his decision to sit out the 2020 season.