The NFL has had their first player choose to opt out of playing in the 2020 season. Kansas City Chiefs starting right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif will forgo the upcoming season and continue to work in the medical field.
Chiefs’ starting RG @LaurentDTardif is the first NFL player to opt out of his contract due to COVID-19. Duvernay-Tardif will not play this year and instead will continue to work as an orderly at a long-term care facility in Canada, helping fight COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/QBpKCHaFUV— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 25, 2020
Duvernay-Tardif was drafted by Kansas City in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL draft out of McGill. Over the last five seasons, he has started 57 games for the Chiefs. Duvernay-Tardif had renegotiated his salary in April to where he would be paid $3.5 million for the season and would become a free agent for 2021 according to overthecap.com.
Duvernay-Tardif released a statement as to why he chose to opt out of the 2020 season. Seeing the effects of COVID-19 in the healthcare field, Duvernay-Tardif stated if he was going to put his community at risk in any way it was going to be by giving medical care rather than playing football.
My decision regarding the 2020 NFL season pic.twitter.com/jrY3nZfNWO— Laurent D. Tardif (@LaurentDTardif) July 25, 2020
Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff hails from Quebec, french is his first language, and he is the first NFL player to have graduated from medical school. He is also a Knight of the National Order of Quebec, an honor he shares with Pittsburgh Penguins star and owner, Mario Lemieux.
Duvernay-Tardiff made the news in 2018 when the NFL was criticized for denying him the right to have M.D. added to his name on his jersey. Now he has made the news again, for choosing medicine over football during this pandemic. Duvernay-Tardiff returned home to Canada during the Covid-19 outbreak to help, and has been working at a long-term care facility.
While we don’t yet know how many players will opt out of the 2020 NFL season, it is appropriate that the first was Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff M.D.