(NEXSTAR) – Kansas City Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif will be watching his teammates on television after opting out of the NFL season to put his medical training to work, assisting on the frontlines in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
“Right now in Montreal, we have a curfew, so you’ve got to be home by yourself by 8 o’clock,” he said told The Kansas City Star. “So I’ll be watching the game by myself, because that’s all I can do. And for sure it’s probably going to be tough, to be honest.”
He says he doesn’t regret his decision to return to his home city of Montreal, and as a future physician he made the tough decision “in order to look at myself in the mirror 10 years from now and feel like I made the right call.”
“It’s tough, I miss the game, I miss the locker room, I miss being with the guys,” Tardif told “Good Morning America.” “But I’m in peace with my decision. I do think I made the right choice.”
While he may not be with his teammates in Tampa this week, he’s doing his best to support them from a country away.
“Red Friday,” he posted on Instagram. “Couldn’t be prouder of my team Go Chiefs!”
In November of 2020, the Pro Football Hall of Fame put his scrubs and lab coat from his work at a long-term care facility in Quebec on display in its Pro Football Today Gallery.
Duvernary-Tardif earned his doctorate in medicine from McGill University in 2018, becoming the first active NFL player to hold a medical degree. He started at right guard for the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV, earning the franchise’s second title with a 31-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers.
He was the first player to opt out of the 2020 season, saying his experience fighting the pandemic left him no choice, tweeting the following statement:
“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 signed a 5-year, $41 million deal with the Chiefs in 2017.