Called “the most interesting man in the NFL”, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is an eight-year NFL veteran, Super Bowl champion, and the only active NFL player who earned a medical degree. Just months after his Super Bowl win with the Kansas City Chiefs — and in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic — Duvernay-Tardif stepped away from football to join the medical front lines. From the incredible highs of winning the Super Bowl to the burnout of working as an orderly, Duvernay-Tardif shares his remarkable personal story, speaking to resiliency, leadership, and more.
In May 2014, at the age of only 23, Duvernay-Tardif 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 both football and medicine, Duvernay-Tardif turned a deaf ear when counsellors and family members advised him to choose between sports and studies. In 2018, one year after becoming the fourth highest paid guard in NFL history, Duvernay-Tardif graduated from McGill University with his doctorate in medicine.
As a fixture on the offensive line, Duvernay-Tardif was an integral part of the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl 2020 win as their starting Right Guard. He was named a co-recipient of the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year award as well as the co-winner for the 2020 Lou Marsh Trophy. He was also named to “l’Ordre National du Québec”.
As plans for the 2020 NFL season ramped up, Duvernay-Tardif stepped away from the game he loved, becoming the first player of the 2020 NFL season to publicly opt-out. For the first time in his remarkable career, Duvernay-Tardif 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. While working on the front lines, Duvernay-Tardif enrolled in Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
In recognition of his work in the medical field, Duvernay-Tardif was the recipient of the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award in 2021. He was also the inaugural recipient of the 2021 Canada’s Walk of Fame National Hero Honour. In addition, Duvernay-Tardif’s scrubs and lab coat are now on display in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.