Chiefs' Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, a doctor, becomes 1st NFL player to opt out of 2020 season

Chiefs’ Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, a doctor, becomes 1st NFL player to opt out of 2020 season

Terez Paylor

Senior NFL writer

Yahoo SportsJul 24, 2020, 9:57 PM

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Andrea Kremer on Chiefs OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif’s impact during the COVID-19 crisis | Yahoo Sports NFL Podcast

Andrea Kremer on Chiefs OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif’s impact during the COVID-19 crisis | Yahoo Sports NFL Podcast

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The first player to publicly opt out of the 2020 NFL season happens to be the only medical doctor on an NFL roster.

Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif will sit out the season, he announced Friday night on Twitter. Players could opt out of this coming season as part of a deal the players union negotiated and finalized with the league.

“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,” he wrote.

Duvernay-Tardif, 29, has been a starter at right guard for the Super Bowl champions for the past five seasons. He is the first active NFL player to graduate from medical school.

Since he’s not in a residency program due to the time required to play football and he doesn’t have a license to practice yet, in the aftermath of COVID-19 he has been working as an orderly, a hospital assistant responsible for nonmedical care of patients and the maintenance of order and cleanliness.

Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif announced on Twitter on Friday night that he plans to sit out the season, as negotiated by the NFLPA and the league. (Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


Duvernay-Tardif has also served on the NFLPA’s task force on the pandemic, along with experts who study epidemiology and public health.

As such, Duvernay-Tardif said the decision has nothing to do with the protocols the league has put into place to protect players. He added that the Chiefs’ medical staff has put together “a strong plan to minimize the health risks associated with COVID-19,” although some risks remain.

“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 health care system,” he wrote. “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 thanked the Chiefs for their support and understanding.

Duvernay-Tardif renegotiated his contract this offseason and was set to have a salary-cap number of $5.5 million. Players who are designated as “high-risk” opt outs will receive a $350,000 stipend, while others who opt out will receive a $150,000 salary advance.

Duvernay-Tardif’s decision means his salary will toll until 2021. So the Chiefs will gain cap room this year, but they’ll add the same amount to next year’s cap.

Chiefs add G Kelechi Osemele

On Saturday, the Chiefs added guard Kelechi Osemele on a one-year deal to shore up the offensive line after Duvernay-Tardif opted out of the 2020 season. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports the deal is for a maximum of $2 million.

The eight-year veteran had a tumultuous 2019 with the New York Jets battling myriad injuries. He started the first three games of the season, then was released after opting for shoulder surgery in October that was not authorized by the team. The Jets did not agree with the timing of the season-ending surgery and implored Osemele to play through the injury. Instead, the veteran left guard got three opinions and opted to have surgery.

He made two Pro Bowls in 2016-17 and was an All-Pro in 2016 with the then-Oakland Raiders. The Baltimore Ravens selected Osemele in the second round of the 2012 draft.

That’s an exceptional human right there.

The only doctor? Thought Laken Tomlinson was one also.

I know some players were studying to be doctor’s but not sure if they actually were yet like Zach Zenner.

Quite the over achiever. Seems pretty rare these days to see someone placing principles over dollars. I know he’s made quite a bit of money already but $5m is quite a sum to walk away from.

This is exactly why you only invest in guys that eat sleep and breathe football. Guys that have few interests outside of football, and guys who might even have multiple kids with multiple women. They’ll always need the game.


In the details of the article it sounds like he’s not an official doctor, it just made for a better storyline to make it sound like it.

I think it’s a silly opt out. He can help more with the money from his NFL contract than as an orderly. But whatev.

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They call him Doctor Whiff…maybe that’s where you got it…

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pretty sure if he graduated from medical school he is a doctor. Just can’t practice as he hasn’t done his residency.

Someone who gets a doctorate in world history is a Dr. as well. But not a “doctor.”

At least he’s been to “The Show”…

As I understand it, if he graduated from medical school he’s an M.D. He hasn’t done the grueling on-the-job training that residency provides, but he’s still a medical doctor. Don’t we have a doc or two lurking in the house?

I’m pretty sure you know exactly what I’m saying, but just want to be argumentative.

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Gotta give it to anyone who serves …

Huh? Was this supposed to be meant for someone else?
I didn’t even respond to your response and wasn’t arguing with anyone. LOL

It definitely quoted the wrong person.

Yeah he’s more of a medical student and is becoming a doctor. He has yet to complete his residency. Technically he has a doctrine but isn’t a doctor.

I think it’s because he’s working as an orderly and is heavily exposed and he doesn’t want to transmit it in the NFL to his teammates etc.

It’s clearly not because he’s afraid of catching it or he wouldn’t be working as an orderly. Where he’s exposed to it everyday. He’s high risk and gets paid 350k to start his residency.

He’s looking towards the future and becoming a doctor. He likely figures he’s needed there more anyway.

Technically he is a doctor like anyone who completed a doctrine would be. You can get a doctrine in a lot of fields … but your not a medically licensed doctor and you can’t practice medicine.

This article makes it seems like he’s a licensed medical doctor. Which he’s not. He won’t be until he completes his residency.

This was the angle I was coming from when I said its silly, and a bit of a miscalculation on his part. If its all about being helpful, he can help more people with his $3.5M salary from 2020 than he can being an orderly.

Wes - I know I’m splitting hairs here…

I think he’s more about not helping to just help… but save lives… if this guy directly contributes to saving one life: F that 3.5 million as life can be given a dollar amount imho

Me just being me… sry if I’m being annoying I’m any way brother’