Duvernay-Tardif, 29, is a medical school graduate from McGill University in Canada, and he had been assisting as an orderly in a long-term care facility in the Montreal area during the coronavirus pandemic.
In his social media post, he called the decision one of the most difficult ones he has made in his life.
“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 wrote. “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.”
According to an agreement approved by both the league and union on Friday, players considered high risk to COVID-19 can earn $350,000 and an accrued NFL season if they choose to opt out of the 2020 season. Players without risk can earn $150,000 for opting out. Duvernay-Tardif was scheduled to make $2.75 million this season.
Players have seven days from the time the agreement is officially signed, likely Monday, to make a decision about whether to opt out for the season.
Duvernay-Tardif has been the Chiefs’ starting right guard for the past five seasons, and he played every offensive snap during their Super Bowl LIV win over the San Francisco 49ers in February.