Kansas City Chiefs lineman and medical doctor Laurent Duvernay-Tardif was back home in Montreal on Sunday at Parc Jean-Drapeau to celebrate his Super Bowl win.
The 28-year-old became the first native Quebecer in NFL history to win a Super Bowl.
He hoisted his first Vince Lombardi Trophy last Sunday in Miami, Fla., where his team, the Kansas City Chiefs, beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-20.
The Chiefs came from behind in the fourth quarter to claim the historic victory.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was in attendance, posted the invitation to a homecoming victory party on social media Friday morning.
The accomplished football player took time to reflect on his team’s victory.
“What a blessing — I really feel honoured and privileged,” said Duvernay-Tardif during Sunday’s press conference. “It’s awesome to be able to finally meet your fans. All the fans from Quebec and Montreal, everyone is so positive and I really used that to motivate me through the tough times this season.”
The NFL took notice of Mont-Saint-Hilaire native Duvernay-Tardif in 2014 with the Chiefs drafting him in the sixth round, No. 200 overall.
Despite his success on the field, Duvernay-Tardif remained in school, graduating from McGill’s Faculty of Medicine with a doctorate of medicine and a master of surgery in May 2018.
“If I can promote balance between different passions and activities, well I’d say mission accomplished,” said the Super Bowl champion. “I was telling myself, you’re going to show people that it’s possible — that you can do both.”
After returning to Montreal to study at McGill during his off-seasons, Duvernay-Tardif said he’s putting his medical career on hold for now.
“I’m not going to start my residency this off-season. My field of interest is emergency medicine, and it would not be the optimal learning experience for me to do it part-time so I will wait till football is over,” he said, adding that he doesn’t see himself playing in the NFL for more than another five years.
The Super Bowl champions typically get invited to the White House to meet the president. In recent years, some athletes have skipped the tradition in protest. Duvernay-Tardif plans to go.
“I’m not going to talk about my political opinion about the state and everything, but I’ve never been to Washington. I’ve never been down there, and I want to know what it’s like. It’s part of the thing. If the team is going, I’m going.”
He will appear in Montreal multiple times over the summer to promote his foundation, which advocates for physical activity in youth. Duvernay-Tardif considers inspiring kids his most important mission.
“Find your passion. Don’t be shy to like dream big, think big, have a vision for yourself. If I can pass that message to a kid, it’s gonna be mission accomplished for me. The Super Bowl is great, it’s awesome, but if it can give me the ability to communicate with those kids, it’s going to be even better.”
TV host Kevin Raphael hosted the ceremony’s festivities at Espace 67.
— With files from Global’s Annabelle Olivier