Chiefs RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif Opts Out of NFL Season Over Coronavirus to Serve at Care Facility in Montreal

FILE – In this Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020, file photo, Kansas City Chiefs offensive guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (76) speaks during a news conference in Aventura, Fla., for the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game. Duvernay-Tardif, of the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, became the first player to opt out of the upcoming NFL season due to the coronavirus pandemic, Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has opted out of the 2020 season, he wrote on social media, becoming the first NFL player to publicly say he won’t suit up this year.

Duvernay-Tardif, 29, is a medical school graduate from McGill University in Canada, and he had been assisting as an orderly in a long-term care facility in the Montreal area during the coronavirus pandemic.

In his social media post, he called the decision one of the most difficult of his life.

“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.”

Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill applauded his teammate’s decision on Twitter. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes said Saturday he was surprised but respects what Duvernay-Tardif is trying to do.

“He’s the guy who’s been on the front lines, working with the people that are suffering from COVID day to day and putting in all that time and work,” Mahomes said. “He understands it and his decision was he wants to stay there and keep helping in that capacity.

“I know it was difficult for him, but you respect the decision for him to put his thoughts aside and to do what he thinks is best to help his community and the world as he sees it.”

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