Canadian doctor Laurent Duvernay-Tardif first NFL player to opt out of 2020 season due to COVID-19

Canadian offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has become the first NFL player to opt out of his contract for the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Late Friday night, Duvernay-Tardif posted his statement on Twitter and Instagram. The starting right guard for the reigning Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs will instead stay at work fighting the coronavirus as an orderly in a long term care facility in Quebec.

Duvernay-Tardif released the heartfelt statement on his decision in both official languages.

Given the worldwide sanitary crisis we are currently experiencing, the NFL and the NFLPA have agreed to significant health and safety protocols to protect the players. There is no doubt in my mind the Chiefs’ medical staff have put together a strong plan to minimize the health risks associated with COVID-19 but some risks will remain.

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. 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.

I want to thank everyone in the Kansas City Chiefs organization for their support and understanding.

Stay safe,

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

The former J.P. Metras Trophy winner for McGill University was the first active NFL player to graduate from medical school. Due to the time requirements of playing in the NFL, Duvernay-Tardif has not completed a medical residency but made international headlines this off-season when he decided to work as an orderly at a long-term care facility in Quebec, one of the areas of life most hard hit by the virus.

The Super Bowl winner was set to make $2.75 million this year on a renegotiated contract, but will only receive $150,000 after opting out.

Some heroes don’t wear capes, just lab coats.