Laurent Duvernay-Tardif opts out of NFL season, saying he won't risk spreading COVID-19
MONTREAL -- Montreal native and Super Bowl champion Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has decided not to play in the 2020 NFL season.
Duvernay-Tardif, 29, who famously disrupted his medical school training to play pro football, has been working with Quebec patients as an orderly during the pandemic.
He said in a statement on social media on Friday night that being on the front lines has given him a “different perspective on this pandemic.”
While he’s sure the Kansas City Chiefs’ staff have a “strong plan” to minimize COVID-19 risks, Duvernay-Tardif said, he has seen the stress the virus has put on the health-care system and wants to minimize any risk of personally spreading it.
“This is one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make in my life but I must follow my convictions,” 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.”
Duvernay-Tardif hasn’t yet completed the residency needed to become a licensed doctor, but after he arrived in Quebec at the beginning of the pandemic he spoke about going to work at long-term care homes.
He signed his statement “stay safe.”
Duvernay-Tardif, whose family owns a popular bakery in the Villeray neighbourhood, is the first player to exercise his opt-out option for the season.
He is in the third year of a $42 million contract with the Chiefs.