Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif announced that he plans to sit out the season, making him the first player in the league to do so.
The 29-year-old is a medical school graduate from McGill University in Canada. He had been assisting as an orderly in a long-term care facility in the Montreal area during the coronavirus pandemic.
In the message he posted on social media to announce his decision, Duvernay-Tardif said his decision to opt-out is one of the most difficult he has had to make. It would be for anyone.
“Being at the frontline during this offseason has given me a different perspective on this pandemic. Also 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.”
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Wide receiver Tyreke Hill praised his teammate’s decision while quarterback Patrick Mahomes he was surprised but respects what Duvernay-Tardif is trying to do. Would you do the same as Laurent Duvernay-Tardif?
“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.”
Head coach Andy Reid, whose mother worked as a doctor, said he was proud of his lineman’s decision.
“I understand the dedication it takes to be a doctor,” Reid said Saturday. “It’s tremendous dedication. To his profession. Also what his future is going to be. We understand that when football is over, this is going to be one of the greatest doctors ever.”