Ex-Chiefs Draft Pick Temporarily Stepping Away from Football

Chiefs' Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is a practicing medical doctor

Getty Patrick Mahomes celebrates with Laurent Duvernay-Tardif


s a former sixth-round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has earned respect around the NFL landscape not just for his work on the football field, but for the work he also does off of it as well.

Duvernay-Tardif was the first NFL player to opt out of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, he didn’t opt out to protect himself. Rather, he wanted to help others.

As a medical school graduate from McGill University in Canada, Duvernay-Tardif assisted as an orderly in a long-term care facility in the Montreal area throughout the pandemic.

“Being at the frontline during this offseason has given me a different perspective on this pandemic and the stress it puts on individuals and our healthcare system,” he wrote, via a social media post on July 24. “I cannot allow myself to potentially transmit the virus in our communities simply to play the sport that I love. If I am to take risks, I will do it caring for patients.”

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Duvernay-Tardif then returned to football in 2021, where his stint with the Chiefs would come to an end, as he was traded to the New York Jets on November 2. He would then play in eight games and start seven of them for New York for the remainder of the 2021 season.

Now a free agent this offseason, Duvernay-Tardif is opting to temporarily step away from football to achieve one of his off-the-field goals.

LDT to Continue Working Towards Being a Physician

Duvernay-Tardif, 31, announced on June 9 via ESPN that he will be stepping away from his NFL career to do a residency program at a Montreal-area hospital as part of the medical requirements to become a physician.

“I’m going to prioritize medicine … and we’ll see in September if there’s a fit,” Duvernay-Tardif told ESPN. “After eight years in the NFL, and I don’t want to sound pretentious by saying this, but I think I’ve earned the right to do what’s best for me and not just for football and kind of bet on myself a little bit.”

Despite doing the residency program, LDT told ESPN that he plans on reassessing his own interest in football as well as that of NFL clubs in September.

“I’m really comfortable with the risk, and I’m pretty confident there’s going to be an offer on the table in September if I want it. And if I want it I’ll take it. If medicine is going well and I feel like I’ve got to be out there in front of 80,000 people to play the sport I love, well, I’ll go, but I think I want it to be more on my terms.”

Twitter Reacts to LDT Stepping Away from Football

Twitter users reacted to the news of Duvernay-Tardif stepping away from football.

“He’s 31, made $25M for his career, was decent for a couple seasons, struggled with injuries, helped out during COVID doing medical stuff, was probably naturally approaching retirement, and now he gets to pick up where he left off after med school. Seems pretty good,” one Twitter user wrote.

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“I wish him the best of luck! Sides I’d rather save lives then endanger my brain if that’s an option for me. I love football but if you got another avenue then take it,” another user wrote.

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“Imagine being that good at football that teams still want you and you’re like I’m gonna be a Doctor….well done LDT,” another user wrote.


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