Super Bowl Champion and Medical Doctor
LAURENT DUVERNAY-TARDIF, an 8-year NFL veteran and Super Bowl Champion, is the only active NFL player with a medical degree. In 2018, one year after becoming the fourth highest-paid guard in NFL history, he graduated from McGill University. As a fixture on the offensive line, Laurent was an integral part of the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl 2020 win as their starting Right Guard. Just months after this victory, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, he stepped away from football to work as an orderly at a long-term care facility in the Montreal area. For his remarkable accomplishments on and off the field, Laurent was named co-winner of the Lou Marsh Trophy for top Canadian male athlete and co-recipient of the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year award. He also received the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award. His scrubs and lab coat are displayed in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
– – – – –
His meteoric rise has been so remarkable that the Kansas City Star called him “the most interesting man in the NFL.” And for a good reason: not only is Laurent Duvernay-Tardif an 8-year NFL Veteran and Super Bowl Champion, he is also studying medicine at McGill University. In May 2018, he graduated with his doctorate in medicine, earning one of the biggest accomplishments of his life.
In May 2014, at the age of only 23, the Mont-Saint-Hilaire native became the 10th Canadian to be drafted by an NFL team from a Canadian university. In his second season in Kansas City, the six-foot-five-inch 320-pound player earned the position of starting right guard on the team.
Passionate about football and medicine, Laurent turned a deaf ear when counsellors and family members advised him to choose between sports and studies. And it proved to be the right choice! “It’s all about balance. Don’t give up on your passions!” he tells the young people he meets at the many talks he gives at schools.
Duvernay-Tardif played university football with McGill University (2010 to 2013) after his college career with the Phénix at Collège André-Grasset (2008-2009). Previously, he played three seasons with the Richelieu Pirates in Beloeil.
From the beginning of his career, he has been honoured with athletic and academic awards. In February 2020, he was an integral part of the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl-winning team as their starting Right Guard.
During the spring of 2020, Laurent lent a helping hand during the Covid-19 pandemic by working as an orderly at a long-term care facility in the Montreal area. In July 2020, Laurent announced that he was opting out of the 2020 NFL season due to Covid-19, becoming the 1st player of the 2020 NFL season to announce his decision to opt-out. While working on the front lines, he also enrolled in Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
In 2020, he was named co-recipient of the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year award and co-winner of the 2020 Lou Marsh Trophy. He was also named to “l’Ordre National du Québec” in 2020. In 2021, he received the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award. Laurent was also the inaugural recipient of the 2021 Canada’s Walk of Fame National Hero Honour in December 2021. This award presentation was aired on CTV. His scrubs and lab coat are now displayed in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Already very involved in his community despite his gruelling schedule, Laurent is driven by the desire to get young people excited about physical activity and art and promote balance between sports, arts and studies. In 2017, his longtime girlfriend Florence and him cofounded the Laurent Duvernay-Tardif Foundation, its mission being to encourage sports, arts and studies for kids.
An avid sailor—he spent many summers as a camp counsellor—and fan of contemporary art, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is as charismatic as he is physically imposing, and his future holds great promise.
In July 2020, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif sent shockwaves through the sports world by becoming the first NFL player to opt out of the upcoming season during the global pandemic.
As plans for the 2020 NFL season ramped up and daily cases of Covid-19 continued to skyrocket, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, a fixture on the offensive line of the Kansas City Chiefs, stepped away from the game he loved. Not only an active player but also a medical school graduate, Laurent withdrew when he realized that continuing to play—and potentially spreading the virus—was antithetical to everything he believed in. For the first time in his remarkable career, Laurent couldn’t reconcile his twin passions of football and medicine, and with his team’s Super Bowl win only months behind him, he found himself on the front lines of the pandemic, working in a long-term care facility in Quebec.But that was just the beginning of the story. As Laurent settled into his new reality, he quickly came up against a severe Covid outbreak in his hospital unit. Meanwhile, his team, the Kansas City Chiefs, entered the playoffs as the favourites to repeat as champions in a season that saw countless games postponed due to league-wide outbreaks, including one on his own offensive line.
From the incredible highs of winning the Super Bowl to the burnout of working as an orderly, Red Zone takes readers inside Laurent’s life as he grapples with his roles of a medical professional and NFL football player during a global pandemic. But this captivating memoir also reveals Laurent’s remarkable personal story, detailing how his insatiable curiosity and solid work ethic led him from his family’s bakery in Montreal to his role as one of the most fascinating and accomplished people in professional sports.