CANTON, Ohio (WDAF) — Regardless of how the rest of his football career goes on the field, Kansas City Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has achieved Pro Football Hall of Fame status for his work as a doctor.
Duvernay-Tardif made headlines in July when he opted out of the 2020 NFL season and put his medical training to work, assisting on the frontlines in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Saturday, 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, during which the franchise earned its 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.
“Given the worldwide sanitary crisis we are currently experiencing, the NFL and the NFLPA have agreed to significant health and safety protocols to protect players,” he said. “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.”
Duvernary-Tardif explained why he decided to take the opt-out option negotiated by the NFL and the NFLPA for the 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,” he said. “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.”
Duvernay-Tardif signed a five-year, $41 million deal with the Chiefs in 2017.