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Laurent Duvernay-Tardif says he’s coming back to the Chiefs in 2021

The French-Canadian doctor has now erased all doubt about whether he will return from his 2020 opt out.

San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

In a way, it isn’t very newsworthy when an NFL player who chose to opt out of the 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic says they are planning to return. For a typical NFL player, that’s something we’d just assume to be true.

But then again, Kansas City Chiefs offensive guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is anything but typical. He chose to use his opt-out year working to fight against the pandemic — and more than a few observers figured that he might choose to do the same in 2021.

But in a post he shared on his Instagram account, the league’s only player who is also a medical doctor announced that he is, in fact, returning to the Chiefs in 2021 — albeit with a whole new perspective.

“A year ago,” he wrote, “I was trading my football helmet and pads for a hospital gown and a pair of gloves. This experience changed me in a way that I never thought would be possible. I met extraordinary people that made so many sacrifices and took care of our vulnerable ones with so much passion and dedication. Those nurses, orderlies and doctors made me realize the difference between treating and caring for patients.”

But then he made it clear that he will be returning for the coming season.

“It’s now time for me to transition back into football,” he said, “but there is no doubt that those 10 months working part-time in a long-term care facility will help me become a better physician. Thank you all for your sacrifices and your hard work.”

The team’s starting right guard in 2019, the 30-year-old Duvernay-Tardif will be playing out the final year of his Chiefs contract. In the offseason, he will face competition for his starting job from newly-signed free agent Kyle Long, third-year player Nick Allegretti and even sixth-round rookie Trey Smith — to name just three of the 14 other offensive linemen Kansas City now has on the roster.

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