Chiefs Guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif Talks About Opting Out Of 2020 NFL Season: ‘There Was Going To Be Things More Important Than Football This Year’
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif won a Super Bowl with the Chiefs in 2020. Fast forward a few months and he would become the first NFL player to opt out of the season according to the NFL.
Instead of blocking for the former Super Bowl MVP, he’d be helping out patients.
You may have heard his story, how he chose to stay on the frontlines, working at a long-term care facility (nursing home) in Canada instead of suiting back up to play in the NFL’s 2020 season:
“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…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 healthcare system,” Duvernay-Tardif said in the announcement of his decision in July 2020. “I cannot allow myself to potentially transmit the virus in our communities simply to play the sport I love. If I am to take risks, I will do it caring for patients.”
The Pro Football Hall of Fame recognized the selflessness of the Super Bowl champion in caring for patients and decided to display Duvernay-Tardif’s “medical scrubs & lab coat”.
Duvernay-Tardif’s scrubs in the Hall of Fame:
NFL Network’s Andrea Kremer caught up with Duvernay-Tardiff and talked to him about how the past season was for him not on a football field but in the medical field.
“It’s not easy to say no to one of the best year(s) of your career and a potential second Super Bowl,” Duvernay-Tardif said per the NFL. “I was feeling like I was letting my team down. But at the same time, I feel like I got to be able to look at myself 10 years from now when I’m going to be a physician and be like I made the right decision. For me, there was going to be things more important than football this year.”
“I decided to opt out…the last four months in long-care facility really gave me a different perspective,” Duvernay-Tardiff said in July 2020 according to the NFL. “I’ve seen firsthand the shortage of staff, people getting sick, people dying, I just don’t see how I can go about my business and play football right now.”
“You realize that what really matter(s),” Duvernay-Tardif said per the NFL. “It’s not the treatment, it’s the caring, making sure that your patient(s) are comfortable, that they preserve their dignity. That’s really what I learn(ed).”
“Passionate about both football and medicine, Laurent (didn’t listen) when counsellors and family members advised him to choose between sports and studies,” Duvernay-Tardiff’s website says in the bio. “And it proved to be the right choice! ‘It’s all about balance. Don’t give up on your passions!’ he tells the young people he meets at the many talks he gives at schools.”
Duvernay-Tardif told Kremer he’s missed the winning and that “the Chiefs are pretty good at winning”.
“The Chiefs are heading to the playoff(s) and you’re like what am I doing here with a cup of apple puree and medication,” Duvernay-Tardif said via the NFL.
Duvernay-Tardif also said to NFL Network before the Super Bowl that it’d be more difficult to watch the big game than actually being there but that he was wanting the Chiefs to win. Unfortunately for him, his quarterback Patrick Mahomes, his coach Andy Reid, and Chiefs fans everywhere, the Chiefs weren’t able to pull it off.
But they have a teammate they’re rooting for in Canada who may not have won a Super Bowl this year but is showing super acts of kindness. And he still has that 2020 Super Bowl ring to guard.
What did the Chiefs guard do on Monday after seeing his team lose the Super Bowl on Sunday? By working out in the snow, of course, as he posted: “starting the week strong (with a) #winter #workout”.
Charlie Lapastora is a sports/news multimedia journalist who’s reported, written, produced, anchored, shot video/edited on different NBC, ABC, and FOX shows in multiple TV markets, along with digital & new media companies. Charlie has traveled the country telling national sports, news, feature, and original stories on a cable news network, airing on top 10 TV markets, satellite radio, and digital platforms. He is passionate about his faith, family—being a husband to whom he calls the G.O.A.T. of women—about reppin’ his home state of Michigan and Detroit teams (yes, including the Lions), good coffee, and loves how sports brings people together. He’s traveled the world leading and coaching sports camps and has also worked at the Detroit Pistons and LA Clippers’ NBA teams.
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