Super Bowl champion Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, the first practicing medical doctor to play in the NFL, has decided to opt out of playing in the upcoming season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” the 29-year-old Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman said in a Twitter post. “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.
“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.”
Duvernay-Tardif is the first NFL player to opt out of the 2020 season because of the pandemic. According to ESPN, Duvernay-Tardif was set to earn $2.75 million this season. By opting out, he will get $150,000 instead as a result of a Friday agreement struck between the union and the league.
Duvernay-Tardif, who earned his medical degree from McGill University in Canada in 2018, plays right guard on the Chiefs’ offensive line. He played in the biggest game of his life in February, helping the Chiefs win their first Super Bowl in 50 years.
In an April story he did for Sports Illustrated, Duvernay-Tardif wrote about working at a long-term care facility near Montreal.
Duvernay-Tardif was in his third year of medical school when the Chiefs drafted him in the sixth round in 2014. He continued his studies and returned to Montreal in the offseason to fulfill his clinical rotations in pediatrics, obstetrics, geriatrics and his preferred specialization, emergency medicine. On May 29, 2018, he received his medical doctorate after eight years.