Kansas City Chiefs lineman, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif will not be helping his team defend their Super Bowl title next year.
The 29-year-old Canadian became the first NFL player to opt-out of the upcoming NFL season due to concerns over COVID-19 last Friday. Kansas city’s offensive lineman will instead be working on the front lines.
He earned a medical degree from McGill University, and he’s been fulfilling requirements to become a doctor in the off-season.
This summer Duvernay-Tardif put his medical training to use on the front lines of the fight against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In a recent Instagram post he stated that if he is going to put his health at risk, it will be to help patients.
“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 said. “This 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 on 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. I cannot allow myself to potentially transmit the virus in our communities simply to play the sport that I love.”
Right before going public with his decision, the NFL and its player’s association agreed on Friday upon an opt-out clause for the upcoming season. In light of the ongoing pandemic, players who choose not to play will receive a $150,000 stipend and those who opt-out because they are designated “high-risk” will receive $350,000.
Duvernay-Tardif signed a four-year deal three years ago, but he recently renegotiated the contract and was set to make a base salary of US$2.75 million this season. He will be taking quite a pay cut this year, but all the same provisions of his contract will be applicable next season.
Kansas City welcomed rookies to training camp earlier this week, though most of the time has been spent administering COVID-19 tests and physical exams. Team veterans like Duvernay-Tardif were expected to join them at training in a few days.