Slated to become a free agent in the off-season, Canadian Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has more to consider than just where he’ll continue his NFL career.
The New York Jets veteran offensive lineman earned his medical degree from McGill in 2018 while a member of the Kansas City Chiefs. With the Jets’ season now complete following a 27-10 loss Sunday to the Buffalo Bills, Duvernay-Tardif said he has medical considerations to also address this winter.
“Honestly, everything is on the table right now,” Duvernay-Tardif told reporters after Sunday’s game. “I think, for me, it’s important also to look at my future as a physician.”
“There are some deadlines, there is some issues that I got to work out with the medical faculty, with the licensing back home in Canada, to make sure that I’m not having to restart that eight-year process that I went through. So, I’m going to get those answers and then I’ll start looking at my options from the football perspective.”
Duvernay-Tardif, 30, said medical graduates have four years to start their residency. Given he graduated from McGill in May 2018, that deadline is fast approaching.
Duvernay-Tardif was already in medical school when the Kansas City Chiefs took him in the sixth round of the ’14 NFL draft out of McGill. The native of Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Que., initially played football during the NFL season, then spent his off-season continuing his medical studies.
“I have got to find a way to get some leeway from the medical faculty in order to pursue my football career,” he said. “Of course, when it comes to being a physician, you don’t want to take short cuts . . . so I’ve got to make sure I am doing things right.
“That is what I am going to do in the next few weeks.”
New York acquired Duvernay-Tardif from Kansas City for tight end Dan Brown on Nov. 2, prior to the NFL draft deadline. Duvernay-Tardif waived his no-trade clause with the Chiefs to facilitate the move.
Duvernay-Tardif started seven-of-eight games with New York, which finished last in the AFC East with 4-13 record. By comparison, Kansas City (12-5) finished atop the AFC West.
“It’s disappointing to finish the season this way, that’s for sure,” Duvernay-Tardif said. “We’ve got to build a winning culture and start closing games . . . we’ve got to have that sense of urgency and put everything on the line to make sure we stay on the field offensively and win this game.
“I feel like in the NFL, so many games are won on the last drive of the fourth quarter and we’ve got to be able to not only put ourselves in that situation but after that convert and make it happen.
The six-foot-five, 321-pound Duvernay-Tardif started 57-of-60 career games with Kansas City. He made his first NFL start in 2015 and his last with the franchise was its 31-20 Super Bowl win over the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 2, 2020.
Duvernay-Tardif became the first NFL player to opt-out of the ’20 season. He left football to battle the COVID-19 pandemic working at a long-term care facility in Montreal.
Duvernay-Tardif rejoined the Chiefs at training camp this summer but suffered a fractured bone in his hand. His starting position at right guard was taken by rookie Trey Smith.
At the time of the trade, Duvernay-Tardif said his desire to continue playing superseded his desire to remain with the Chiefs.
Duvernay-Tardif was recognized for his decision to put his football career on hold. He was a co-recipient of the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete in 2020, and was named ESPN’s Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian of the Year as well as one of Sports Illustrated’s 2020 Sportspersons of the year.