NFL star chooses to leave 2020 season to help fight COVID-19 at Canadian long-term care home


Offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif became the first player to retire from the upcoming NFL season on Friday, choosing to use his medical degree on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic rather than helping the Chiefs of Kansas City to defend their first Super Bowl title in 50 years.

Duvernay-Tardif worked to meet his requirements to become a doctor during the offseason, and has spent this summer working at a clinic in his native Canada. He said the experience helped him decide that if he was taking any risks to his health it would be to help patients struggling with the virus.

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“It’s one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in my life, but I have to follow my beliefs and do what I think is right for me personally,” Duvernay-Tardif said in his announcement. on Twitter. “That’s why I decided to choose the unsubscribe option.”

The NFL and its players’ association agreed earlier Friday on a opt-out clause for the upcoming season. Those who voluntarily choose to receive a stipend of $ 150,000 and those with a medical option will receive $ 350,000 rather than their contractual salary, two people familiar with the rulings told The Associated Press. People spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the amount of the allowance was not made public.

The deadline to withdraw is August 3, but Duvernay-Tardif made the decision before the veteran chiefs were at camp.

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“Being on the front line during this offseason has given me a different perspective on this pandemic and the stress it places on individuals and our health system,” said Duvernay-Tardif. “I cannot afford to potentially transmit the virus in our communities just to play the sport I love.”

The Chiefs welcomed the rookies to training camp earlier this week, although most of their time was spent on COVID-19 testing and routine physical exams. Veterans like Duvernay-Tardif were to arrive in the coming days.

The 29-year-old Duvernay-Tardif was relatively unknown when the Chiefs selected him in the sixth round of the 2014 Draft at McGill University, which plays at a level in Canada roughly equal to Division III in the United States. United, but his intelligence allowed him to quickly pick up on coach Andy Reid’s playbook, and a year spent learning the ropes – and developing his strength and more experience – pushed him into the starting training the following season.

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Duvernay-Tardif played fairly well starting 27 of his next 30 games that he won a four-year, $ 42.36 million contract in February 2017. That would have paid him a base salary of $ 2.75 million. dollars this season with a bonus of $ 750,000.

Duvernay-Tardif has faced a string of injuries since signing the deal. He fractured his fibula in Week 5 of the 2018 season and was out until the playoffs, and he missed two games with injuries in last season’s Super Bowl run.

He played all the offensive shots of the playoffs, helping the Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers for the title.

The Chiefs signed most of their free agents from the squad, and quarterback Patrick Mahomes and defensive tackle Chris Jones signed monster deals over the summer as they tried to bring the squad back. intact. They had 20 of 22 starters in attack and defense before Duvernay-Tardif announced his decision to retire.

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“Given the current global health crisis we are experiencing, the NFL and NFLPA have agreed on important health and safety protocols to protect players. There is no doubt in my mind that the chefs’ medical staff have developed a solid plan to minimize the health risks associated with COVID-19, but some risks will remain, ”he said. “I want to thank everyone in the Kansas City Chiefs organization for their support and understanding.”

© 2020 The Canadian Press


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