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Laurent Duvernay-Tardif Becomes First NFL Player to Opt Out of 2020 Season

Kansas City Chiefs right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif will not play football this year. He will continue fighting COVID-19.
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Kansas City Chiefs right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif will not play football this year. 

ESPN Insider Adam Schefter reported the opt out in a Tweet on Friday. Duvernay-Tardif is the first NFL player to opt out of his 2020 contract in light of COVID-19.

Duvernay-Tardif, who has has a doctorate in medicine, confirmed the news in a tweet soon after. He plans to continue serving on the front lines at a long-care term facility outside of Montreal. 

“Given the worldwide sanitary crisis we are currently experiencing, the NFL and the NFLPA have agreed to significant health and safety protocols to protect the players," Duvernay-Tardif tweeted. "There is no doubt in my mind the Chiefs’ medical staff have put together a strong plan to minimize the risks associated with COVID-19, but some risks will remain.” 

“Being at the frontline during this offseason has given me a different perspective on this pandemic and the stress it puts on individuals in our healthcare system. I cannot allow myself to potentially transmit the virus in our communities simply to play the sport that I love. If I am to take frisks, I will do it caring for patients.”

Duvernay-Tardif joined the fight against the pandemic in April as an orderly. He detailed his responsibilities with reporters not too long after. 

“It was hard to jump in as a physician because I’m not really [a doctor] at this specific time,” Duvernay-Tardif told reporters in a teleconference on Friday. “The help that the healthcare department needed was mostly as an orderly, so that’s what I’m doing. I’m doing a little bit of nurse tasks, handing out medication, making sure the patients are alright.”

The position is something different for Duvernay-Tardif, considering he had not worked in an environment where the average patient is over 80 years old.

“I’m here to help, support and contribute in a time of crisis,” Duvernay-Tardif said. “What goes through my mind is how can I, first, protect myself, care for the patient, protect the patient as well, and doing all that while of trying to do as much virtual football training as I can and work out at my home.”  

Duvernay-Tardif would’ve been entering his third season of a five-year contract with the Chiefs. He restructured the original $42 million deal earlier this offseason. 

The guard appeared in 14 games last season, allowing 27 pressures and five sacks.