Through his inspiring journey combining football and medicine, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has been an example for countless young Quebecers. After nine years in the NFL, the “Doc” chose to hang up his shoulder pads and take an overview of his busy career, here are 10 important moments that marked, in chronological order, his time in the most important league professional sportswoman from North America.
• Read also: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif retires from the NFL
1. “From McGill, the Chiefs draft…”
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif got noticed by the Chiefs when he played at McGill University.
ARCHIVE PHOTO, ANNIE T ROUSSEL
It was on May 10, 2014 that Laurent Duvernay-Tardif’s adventure in the NFL began. In the draft, the Chiefs made him their sixth round pick, with the 200e choice in total. From the start, head coach Andy Reid saw something in Duvernay-Tardif and encouraged him to pursue his medical degree at McGill University while playing in the NFL. “It’s been a long wait, but it’s so rewarding. It’s wonderful to receive the call from the leaders, surrounded by their family and friends. It’s a memorable moment,” LDT said at the time.
2. A place on the roster
LDT first had to show up in practice with the Chiefs.
Archive photo, AFP
In his first training camp with the Chiefs, the Quebec guard managed to carve out a place on the team, which is never guaranteed for a late draft pick. The man his teammates quickly nicknamed Larry did not find his place on the reserve team, but on the regular roster of 53 players because the Chiefs cared about him and believed in his potential. In 2014, he did not participate in any matches, but that won’t be long…
3. A guard post leaving
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif with 2015 Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith.
Archive photo, AFP
After a learning season, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif succeeded in achieving what many thought impossible by finding a place in the Chiefs’ starting lineup. He featured in 16 of his team’s matches, including 13 in the trenches as a right-back. It was during this 2015 season that he made a name for himself and established himself in the NFL.
4. A historic contract
With his agent Sasha Ghavami during the signing of his contract.
Archive photo, QMI Agency
After three seasons in the NFL, including two as a starter, the Chiefs have confirmed that Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is now part of the elite at his position. On February 27, 2017, the team awarded him a new contract worth 41.25 million for a period of five years. At the time of his signing, he became the fourth highest paid player in the league among guards. “Now that I’m one of the highest paid players at my position, it comes with a lot of responsibility, but it’s not a stifling pressure,” he said.
5. Call him doctor!
Another beautiful day, during the medical graduation ceremony, in May 2018.
Photo provided by VINCENT ÉTHIER
On May 29, 2018, another big dream of Duvernay-Tardif came true when he officially received his medical degree from McGill University. He thus becomes the first player in NFL history to claim the title of doctor. He ultimately never convinced the big leagues to let him proudly display the letters MD on his jersey, but the moment was no less grandiose for him. “It means a lot to me and I don’t know if I’m fully aware of it yet. It’s an indescribable feeling of pride,” he said.
6. A Super Bowl victory
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif was in the thick of the action against the 49ers during Super Bowl 54.
Archive photo, AFP
On February 2, 2020 in Miami, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif added another feat to his long record by winning Super Bowl 54 with the Chiefs, against the San Francisco 49ers. The goalkeeper finished the match even though he injured his calf along the way. “This is by far the best time of my life. Seeing my family, my parents, Flo (his partner) and seeing my group of sick people in the 300 section with their banners and their flags, it’s incredible to experience that with them,” rejoiced the delighted athlete. .
7. Glory to the CHSLD
Even Bye Bye 2020 highlighted the presence of Duvernay-Tardif in CHSLD.
Shortly after winning the Super Bowl, the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. Torn between his love of football and his corporate mission as a doctor, Duvernay-Tardif chose to walk away from the Chiefs for the 2020 season, like some other NFL players. Far from remaining inactive, he invested in CHSLDs. “Playing in the Super Bowl or going back into the medical system during a pandemic is totally different. In February, I knew over 100 million people were going to watch the game and I wanted to win. When we go to help, it is a duty as a doctor and a citizen. This is not the time to play the hero and be impulsive,” he explained.
8. Traded to Jets
In 2021, LDT swapped the red of the Chiefs for the green of the Jets.
Photo USA TODAY Sports
Returning to play in 2021, Duvernay-Tardif was injured in training camp and was unable to regain his starting spot. On November 2, at the trade deadline, he agreed to waive his no-trade clause and the Chiefs sent him to the New York Jets, where he began a new chapter in his career. “Saying goodbye to Kansas City was not an easy decision. When I decided not to play last year, I promised myself I would do everything in my power to get back on the field. Joining the Jets gives me the best opportunity to play,” he commented.
9. For one last time…
Duvernay-Tardif played his last game as a starter with the Jets on January 1.
Archive photo, Getty Images via AFP
Last season, when everyone thought LDT’s career was well and truly behind him, he pulled another rabbit out of his hat upon his return to action in November. The Jets needed reinforcements on the offensive line and hired him to their reserve team. True to form, Duvernay-Tardif quickly rose through the ranks and, on December 11, he regained ground. On January 1, he even played one game as a starter against the Seahawks in Seattle and on January 8, he played one last game against the Dolphins in Miami. A strange wink from destiny, since it was in this city that he celebrated his triumph at the Super Bowl, three years earlier.
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif received his Super Bowl champion ring during a summer vacation in Gaspésie. Photo taken from Laurent Duvernay-Tardif’s Facebook page
Photo taken from Laurent Duvernay-Tardif’s Facebook page
Now that retirement time has arrived, Duvernay-Tardif is not about to let himself be forgotten in the Quebec sporting and cultural landscape, he who during his career also participated in numerous television projects and advertising campaigns in plus running the foundation in his name which encourages young people to stay active. At the height of his career in 2020, he was co-recipient, with football star Alphonso Davies, of the Northern Star Award, given to the outstanding Canadian athlete. The prestigious Sports Illustrated he also named it Sportsman of the year.
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