Thousands of McGill grads donned their caps and robes on Tuesday, many graduating from med school, but it’s safe to say only one of them is wondering if they can put M.D. on the back on their NFL jersey.
“I made an official request, but there are some rules in place so we’ll see what happens,” Laurent Duvernay-Tardif told reporters after his graduation ceremony.
Montreal-born NFL star Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has officially graduated from McGill medical school. Even though he plays in the world’s top football league and signed a $40 million contract last year, he sees this as his biggest accomplishment yet.
“I think it’s like the first time I’m really, really proud of myself, the first time I made it,” he said.
The 27-year-old will be the first ever active NFL player with a medical degree.
For years, while his NFL teammates relaxed in the off-season, he’s been coming back to Montreal to study and see patients.
“Medicine is an opportunity to do something you love and are passionate about for 40 years which is not really the case with football,” Duvernay-Tardif said.
Juggling both careers may seem unthinkable to a normal human.
His NFL coach Andy Reid could have easily said it’s all football or no football. That’s not what happened.
“Coach Reid was one of the only coaches who said ‘that’s awesome what you want to do, and I’m going to help you to the best of my ability. One, because my mother went to McGill in medicine and was one of the first women to graduate from medicine at McGill.'”
Duvernay-Tardif says his parents were the inspiration for his improbable dual career.
“I was not surprised,” said his mother Guylaine Duvernay. “I was sure he would make it to this moment at this place.”
Because of the time split, it took eight years to complete his degree instead of five. He took on both challenges in part just to show that it was possible.
“I want to show all those kids out there who are questioning themselves if they want to be good at school and hockey or medicine and football, I just want to show them it’s possible to do it. Now there’s somebody who did it,” Duvernay-Tardif explained.
Duvernay-Tardif has a football practice in Kansas City on Wednesday morning. He isn’t sure when he’ll put his lab coat back on again. When he does eventually practice medicine, he says he’ll do it in Montreal.
“Hell yeah!” he exclaimed. “Montreal is a special city, it’s a special atmosphere, it’s my home town.”
Taking pictures with fellow McGill grads on one day, colliding at full speed with other 300-pound millionaires the next. This if the life of Laurent Duvernay-Tardif.