From Offensive Line To The Frontline: Why An NFL Player Is Skipping His Season For Something Bigger
He took quite a pay cut for his decision! But to him, the money doesn't matter. It's helping others that counts.
The pandemic has been forcing a lot of folks to reconsider what they want to do with their lives. Whether people have lost their jobs and are now considering new careers, or they're inspired to help during a time when so many are struggling – for some, it's time for something new.
Take Laurent Duverney-Tardif, for example. Duvernay-Tardif is an offensive lineman for the Kansas City Chiefs football team. Not even a year ago, he was celebrating a Super Bowl win with his teammates after they defeated the San Francisco 49'ers in Miami, FL.
Now, Duverney-Tardif's priorities look a little different. Before the 6'5" gridiron football guard joined the Kansas City Chiefs football team, he was a medical school graduate from McGill University in Montréal, Canada. During the lockdown, Duverney-Tardif has returned to his medical roots and has been working as an orderly at a long-term care facility in Canada.
Laurent Duverney-Tardif celebrated a Super Bowl win with the KC Chiefs in January. Now he's giving up playing in the 2020 season to work on the frontlines of the pandemic. @LaurentDTardif
When faced with the decision to continue working on the frontlines of the pandemic or return to playing the sport he loves, the 29-year-old decided that helping people was more important – at least, until the virus is under control.
Last week, Duverney-Tardif addressed his fans about his career change with a personal letter published on his social media pages:
"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 wrote. "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."
Even though Duverney-Tardif is taking a serious pay cut for opting out of the season (his original NFL contract was for $2.75 million), he'll still earn $150,000 from the league. However, for him, it's not about the money.
"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," he continued in his statement. "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."
Duverney-Tardif teamed up with a couple of Canadiens Montréal hockey players to give his patients a fun surprise...
video c/o @CanadiensMTL
Currently, Duverney-Tardif works 3-4 shifts per week at the care facility in his hometown of Quebec. As an orderly, he provides basic assistance to patients for a variety of tasks, like eating, dressing and bathing.
"So far, I've been assigned to administration of medication in the morning," he told GMA. "I try to do a little bit of like caring, but not necessarily treating people -- just spending time with them."
As an orderly in a long time care facility, Duverney-Tardif helps patients with everyday tasks like eating, getting dressed and bathing. @LaurentDTardif
As for his teammates, Duverney-Tardif says they've been nothing but supportive of his decision.
"Gonna miss my brother in [the] locker room, but I love this move," Kansas City Chief's wide receiver Ty Hill wrote on Twitter.
Duverney-Tardif helped lead the KC Chiefs to a Super Bowl win in 2020. @LaurentDTardif
We couldn't agree more! What a selfless and inspiring thing to do. We'll be rooting for Duverney-Tardif, whether he's wearing scrubs or a football jersey.