Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, a guard for the defending Super Bowl Champs Kansas City Chiefs, announced his decision Friday night to opt out of the 2020 NFL season. Duvernay-Tardif is the first NFL player to opt out of the 2020 season after the NFLPA and league came to a joint agreement Friday allowing players to sit out the season over coronavirus concerns.
Duvernay-Tardif played 14 games last season for the Chiefs.
In April, Duvernay-Tardif was featured by Sports Illustrated as he put his medical degree to use on the front lines fight the coronavirus. Duvernay-Tardif penned an op-ed in Sports Illustrated about his experience working as a doctor on the front lines during the pandemic.
“When you’re going in to help it’s more about your duty as a doctor and a citizen,” he wrote in April. “It’s not the time to be the hero and be impulsive. You’ve gotta do it the right way. You’ve gotta really take this seriously when it comes to washing your hands, not touching anything.”
On Friday, Duvernay-Tardif said he is confident the Chiefs have a good plan for returning to play, but the risks remain too high.
“Being at the frontline during this offseason has given me a different perspective on this pandemic and the stress it puts on individuals and our healthcare system,” he wrote. “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 risks, I will do it caring for patients.”