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Chiefs’ Laurent Duvernay-Tardif opts out of NFL season to work coronavirus frontlines



Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is the first. It remains to be seen how many players will follow his lead.

The Chiefs offensive lineman has opted out of the NFL season, he announced, becoming the first player to do so. His situation is different than other professional players who have opted out of MLB and NBA seasons, though. Duvernay-Tardif has gotten into medicine, graduating from medical graduate school at McGill University in Canada and working as an orderly in Montreal during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“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 teammate Tyreek Hill supported his decision, tweeting: “Gonna miss my brother in locker room, but I love this move (heart emoji).”

Star quarterback Patrick Mahomes retweeted Hill.

The NFL and union agreed on Friday that players who are at high risk to the virus can make $350,000 if they opt out and others will be given $150,000. Duvernay-Tardiff, who was part of the union’s task force deciding when it was safe for the game to return, was scheduled to earn $2.75 million this year. He has been a starter for the Chiefs the last five years at right guard.

To him, helping others in their time of need is more important than playing football.

“I had already wanted to, but when it’s real, it hits you, the gravity involved,” he previously wrote in Sports Illustrated. “Sport is really important; it’s a connective tissue for society. But it is not an essential business.”



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