Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif became the first NFL player to opt out of the 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Duvernay-Tardif, the only active NFL player with a medical degree, announced his decision Friday on Twitter.
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In a statement, the 29-year-old Quebec native said he was unwilling to put people at risk by playing this season.
“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,” he wrote.
“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.”
Duvernay-Tardif helped the Chiefs win Super Bowl 54 earlier this year. He received his M.D. from McGill University in Montreal in 2018.
The reigning champs are scheduled to begin their regular season Sept. 10 at home against the Texans.