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Chiefs starting RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif opting out of 2020 NFL season to continue fighting COVID-19 in Canada

Chiefs right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif opted out of the 2020 NFL season
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs will be down at least one starter as they defend their Super Bowl crown. Right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who has been serving as an orderly at a long-care facility in Canada amid the COVID-19 pandemic, has opted out of his contract due to the coronavirus.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke this stunning news on Friday night.

Duvernay-Tardif shared the following statement about his huge decision:

Duvernay-Tardif started 14 games for the Chiefs last season during the regular season and all three of the team’s postseason games, helping the franchise win Super Bowl 54 over the San Francisco 49ers.

Before the 2017 season, the Chiefs gave Duvernay-Tardif a huge five-year, $42 million contract extension. After renegotiating with the franchise this past offseason, he was due to make up to $5.5 million in 2020. Now, he’ll earn $150,000 instead.

Duvernay-Tardif using his doctorate in medicine to fight COVID-19

Back in April, two months after reaching the NFL’s highest pinnacle, and fresh off a vacation to celebrate the accomplishment, Duvernay-Tardif began using his doctorate in medicine to help fight the coronavirus in Canada.

In a feature for SI.com, he detailed his decision and thanked the Chiefs for being “amazing” in their support. Duvernay-Tardif also explained what was involved in getting him up to speed so he could help.

“First, I registered for a crash course, where I reviewed the basics of how to put a surgical gown on and learn all the steps for sanitizing, because that stuff is more important than ever, to protect not only yourself but your patients. Then I would most likely end up in a long-term care facility, because that is really where they need people in Quebec and in Canada in general.”

He also shared what it was like being back in the hospital and that he didn’t even realize who the Chiefs had drafted in Round 1.

“My first day back in the hospital was April 24. I felt nervous the night before, but a good nervous, like before a game, and I packed everything neatly: scrubs, white coat, extra pens, even a second pair of shoes that I could leave in my locker, knowing they were clean. I wasn’t aware the Chiefs had drafted a running back that night in the first round, even though I will block for my future teammate, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, from LSU.”

Clearly his laser-like focus on the task at hand continues to drive him. We wish him well as he continues to put the health and safety of others ahead of his own during the fight against COVID-19.

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