MONTREAL (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif will spend the next few months studying at one of the world’s most prestigious universities instead of playing football.
The Canadian addressed the media Wednesday, speaking about his decision to opt out of the 2020 NFL season after spending the past few months as an orderly at a long-term care facility an hour away from Montreal during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Duvernay-Tardif will take online classes at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The 29-year-old McGill University medical school graduate first revealed he would try to take classes in nutrition, biostatistics and epidemiology in an article with Sports Illustrated released Wednesday.
Duvernay-Tardif said it was a “really hard decision” to opt out in July, becoming the first NFL player to do so. He came to the decision after considering his experiences at the long-term care facility, one week before he was due to fly out to Kansas City.
“It kind of made me realize that COVID doesn’t just infect people or kill them, it also affects people outside the hospital community, outside the long-term care facility. It put a stress on health care workers,” Duvernay-Tardif said. “I think that really changed my perspective on the virus itself.”
The offensive lineman also was not reassured by the rising number of cases in the United States. He adds that putting his fellow players and team personnel at risk after being in the facility also was a factor in opting out.
“That was something that I was struggling with.” Duvernay-Tardif said.