The lineman wrote the following on Twitter:
“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.
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 had three years remaining on his contract. He was scheduled to earn a $2.75 million base salary for the defending Super Bowl champions. The Quebec-born player was selected in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
In April, the medical school graduate began working at a long-term care facility in Quebec to help during the pandemic. On Friday, details of a plan agreed upon by the NFL and NFL Players Association surfaced on social media. One provision allowed players to opt out of the upcoming season. High-risk individuals could opt out and receive a $350,000 stipend whereas those less at risk would receive a $150,000 stipend. Players have the ability to opt out later in the season, as well, in the event that a family member becomes sick. Additionally, the player’s contract tolls.
Kansas City, along with Houston, was the first team to report for training camp because the two teams are scheduled to open the season on Thursday Night Football on Sept. 10.