The 2020 NFL season was initially suspended due to the widespread COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s reported that the league is looking to kick-off sooner than expected. While there have been a number of reported coronavirus cases among NFL players, the league seems to been pushing forward, regardless. Days ago, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson publicly expressed concern on social media about returning to the field in the middle of a pandemic with a then-pregnant wife, and now it’s being reported that the Kansas City Chiefs starting right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has decided to opt-out of the current season.

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, NFL, COVID-19
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The professional football player wrote a lengthy message that he shared on social media about his decision to bow out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, making him the first player to do so. Duvernay-Tardif has three more years remaining on his contract and was set to earn a base salary of $2.75 million.

He wrote:

“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.”