Patrick Mahomes Respects His Lineman’s Decision to Opt Out of NFL Season
On the same day that the NFL and the NFLPA came to an agreement on terms for NFL training camp, the NFL had its first opt out.
Kansas City Chiefs guard Dr. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif announced he was opting out to continue his work in a hospital in Canada, providing care for COVID-19 patients at a long-term care facility.
After the decision, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was asked about the decision in a Zoom press conference.
"I think it surprises anyone, but at the same time, you respect his decision," Mahomes told the media. "He's a guy that's been on those front lines, working with the people that are suffering from COVID day-to-day and putting in all that time and all that work."
Mahomes continued: "He understands it and his decision was he wanted to stay there; he wanted to keep helping in that capacity and I know it was difficult for him, but you respect the decision for him to kinda put his thoughts aside and kinda do what he thought was best to help out his community and the world as he sees it."
After completing med school in the offseasons of his NFL career, the 29-year-old Duvernay-Tardif has been working as an orderly in a long-term care facility during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mahomes set the tone in the locker room, which also respects the opt out decision. "From everybody that I've spoken to, everybody respects his decision 100 percent," Mahomes said. "Larry's a guy who loves football, but he also loves his other passions, and being a doctor is extremely important, especially at this time that we're at in this world."
For Mahomes, the Chiefs offensive line was nearly impenetrable near the end of the season during the run to the Super Bowl after struggling early in the season. The loss of Duvernay-Tardif will be a big one, and might mean that rookie tackle Lucas Niang might slide in to guard and start his career blocking for the league MVP week one. The other guards already on the roster, Ryan Hunter and Andrew Wylie, are also candidates to move up the depth chart to replace him.
Mahomes continued his press conference talking about COVID-19 and the struggles the team must overcome in training camp. "Definitely there's gonna be a little concern," Mahomes said. "You'd be lying to say you have no concern, but at the same time as I've been throughout the facility now the last night and a little bit today and seeing all the protocols and all the safety things... it's really kinda made me feel even better than I thought coming in."
"Knowing how much that the NFL and the NFLPA has really put in to making sure that we can be as safe as we possibly can be." Mahomes said, adding: "That's kinda put my mind at ease of knowing I'm going to be in the best possible situation, given the time, to be as safe and as healthy as possible."
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