The Super Bowl champion, who’d put his NFL career on hold to begin a residency program at a Montreal-area hospital to fulfil doctorate requirements, is hoping for one more football season before retiring this winter.
He requested a five-month leave of absence from the residency program, which began on Monday.
“It kind of fits perfectly with the beginning of football season,” Duvernay-Tardif told The Canadian Press. “So I don’t have a contract right now, but hopefully I’ll be waiting for a phone call at some point. And maybe it’s not going to work out, I know that, but I feel pretty confident in rolling the dice and see what happens.”
The NFL season kicked off on Thursday night.
The 31-year-old from Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Que., had four years from the day he graduated from McGill University in 2018 — with a doctorate in medicine and a master’s degree in surgery — to begin a residency or lose his doctorate.
“For me, the biggest stress this summer was to make sure that I was transitioning well into residency and medicine. The last two months went really well, so I’m actually really excited,” he said in a phone interview Thursday.
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“And now, it’s kind of five months to regroup, train, getting ready maybe to jump back on a team, or just close all the little projects that I’ve started over the last eight years and make sure I can start residency full-time in January, whether it’s with another Super Bowl ring on my finger or as a retired football player.
“It’s going to be an interesting five months, and that’s why I really don’t have anything (firm) to announce.”
Duvernay-Tardif, who’d just rushed home from a workout Thursday morning, was flying to Saint-Tropez, France later in the day for this weekend’s SailGP race. He’s one of 22 owners of the new Canada SailGP team.
He has been an unrestricted NFL free agent since March after finishing last season with the New York Jets.
Shortly after helping the Kansas City Chiefs win the Super Bowl in February 2020, Duvernay-Tardif became the first NFL player to opt out of the following season, leaving the team to battle the COVID-19 pandemic working at a Montreal long-term care facility.
The six-foot-five, 321-pound Duvernay-Tardif returned to Kansas City last season expecting to battle for his starting spot, but was sidelined for a month after breaking a hand in training camp. In November, he waived his no-trade clause, allowing Kansas City to deal him to the Jets. He started seven of his eight games at right guard for the Jets.
The Montreal Alouettes recently acquired his rights from the Calgary Stampeders in exchange for two conditional picks.
“Laurent is a football icon in Montreal and Quebec,” Alouettes GM Danny Maciocia said in a July 14 statement. “We wish him the best success with his football career moving forward, and are satisfied knowing that if he does play in Canada, he will do so in a city and a stadium that he knows very well.”