First NFL Player Opts Out Of Season
The Kansas City Chiefs' Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has spent his time during quarantine working as a medical professional battling COVID-19. When the NFL returns, he'll continue to do so.
On Friday, after the NFL and NFL Players Association agreed to a plan for the start of training camp and for players potentially opting out of the 2020 season, Duvernay-Tardif became the first player to exercise that option.
Duvernay-Tardif's statement, which called the decision one of the most difficult of his life, read in part:
"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."
Some of Duvernay-Tardif's Chiefs teammates quickly voiced their support for the starting right guard, with Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes retweeting Tyreek Hill's words of encouragement:
The Chiefs lineman, who is a medical school graduate, first shared he was working as an orderly at a long-term care facility near Montreal in a feature interview with Sports Illustrated in April.
Since then, he's used his social media to document the work being done by medical professionals:
He's even helped bring other professional athletes into the facility, albeit remotely, as he introduced Max Domi and Phillip Danault of the NHL's Montreal Canadiens to the patients:
Per the agreement reached by the NFL and NFLPA on Friday, players who are not high-risk for COVID-19 can opt out of the season and still earn $150,000. Players who are at high risk that opt out can earn $350,000 and an accrued NFL season. Duvernay-Taardif's salary for the 2020 season was a reported $2.75 million.
According to multiple reports, players have one week from the day of the agreement to opt out for the upcoming season. Players are scheduled to report to training camp on Tuesday, July 28.