KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has announced his plans to opt out of the 2020 NFL season.
The NFL and and players association reached a deal Friday afternoon addressing many health and financial issues to allow training camps to begin. It also gives players an opportunity to opt out of the upcoming season because of the coronavirus.
Hours later, the Chiefs player announced his decision to do just that on Twitter. He is the first player to do so.
“Given the worldwide sanitary crisis we are currently experiencing, the NFL and the NFLPA have agreed to significant health and safety protocols to protect 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 in 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.”
Duvernay-Tardif signed a 5-year, $41 million deal with the Chiefs in 2017.
The Canadian was also the first active NFL player to hold a medical degree. During the offseason, after winning a Super Bowl with the Chiefs, he’s been working at a longterm care facility in Quebec.
Players who decide they want to opt out have until Aug. 3 to do so, and they will receive a stipend from the owners, the Associated Press reports. The amount of the stipend will be $350,000 for medical opt outs and $150,000 for voluntary opt outs.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports LDT was set to make $2.75 million this season and will instead take that $150,000 stipend.
The Chiefs, who play in the season opener Sept. 10, are scheduled to have veterans arrive at training facilites this weekend for COVID-19 testing.