Kansas City Chiefs starting right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has declared his intention to opt out of the 2020 season, becoming the first NFL player to announce that he will be forgoing the upcoming season.
In a lengthy post shared via Twitter, the 29-year-old offensive lineman, who is the only active NFL player with a medical doctorate, cited his offseason experience helping to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as an orderly at a long-term care facility near his hometown Montreal as the reason for his decision.
“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,” he wrote. “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.”
He continued, “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. 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.”
On the heels of Friday’s pivotal agreement between the NFL and NFLPA, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that players who voluntarily opt out of the season will receive a $150,000 salary advance and their contract will toll. He added that all opt-outs are due within seven days of the deal being finalized.
Duvernay-Tardif, a sixth-round pick by the Chiefs in 2014, concluded the post by thanking the organization for “their support and understanding.”