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First NFL player opts out of 2020 season

Will there be more?

NFL: JAN 30 Super Bowl LIV - NFLPA Press Conference
The NFLPA negotiated a way out for the players in 2020.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A few weeks ago, Donovan Smith brought up the idea of potentially sitting out the 2020 season due to unknowns surrounding the Coronavirus. Fortunately for him and the rest of the players, the NFLPA was able to negotiate an opt-out option for the players on Friday.

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, starting right guard for the Kansas City Chiefs, was the first player to opt out of the 2020 season on Saturday. Duvernay-Tardif’s reasoning differs from Smith’s, however, as Duvernay-Tardif is a doctor and has been using his medical expertise to help others during the pandemic. Through this experience/perspective, he believes that his skills are of better use on the frontlines as opposed to on the football field.

He explained his decision Saturday on social media:

It’s an honorable decision and the NFL is likely left wondering how many players will follow suit. But Duvernay-Tardif is literally the only doctor in the NFL, so no one else will be following suit in this context.

However, players like Smith may decide to opt out for the sake of protecting their family or just for the sake of protecting others.

Based on the agreement reached between the NFL and NFLPA, players who are not considered high-risk and decide to opt out of the 2020 season will be given $150,000 and an accrued NFL season. Players considered high-risk will be given $300k and the accrued season. Duvernay-Tardif falls into the former category.

Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, players have seven days from the time the agreement is officially signed to decide whether or not they will play in 2020. The agreement is likely to be signed Monday.