Canadian Laurent Duvernay-Tardif needs to work out doctor ‘deadlines’ for NFL future to come into focus

Photo courtesy: New York Jets

Canadian offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has been able to balance playing in the NFL while working to become a doctor so far in his career.

For his pro football future to come into focus, the 30-year-old must ensure he stays on track with the required duties to officially earn the title Dr. Duvernay-Tardif.

“I don’t want to get too much into the details, but after you graduate normally you get four years to start practising. For me, I graduated in May 2018, so normally by July 1 I should be enrolled in a residency program,” Duvernay-Tardif explained after the New York Jets regular season finale.

“I gotta find a way to get some leeway from the medical faculty in order to pursue my football career. When it comes to being a physician you don’t want to take shortcuts, so I gotta make sure I’m doing things right and that’s what I’m going to do in the next few weeks.”

Duvernay-Tardif has been active as a medical professional during the COVID-19 pandemic, working as an orderly in a long-term care facility in his home province of Quebec in 2020 and serving on the NFL Players’ Association’s COVID-19 task force. He also launched the Laurent Duvernay-Tardif Foundation with his longtime girlfriend, Florence, to ensure both physical activity and creativity are part of a child’s development and educational success.

“Honestly, everything is on the table right now. For me, it’s important to look at my future as a physician. There are some deadlines that I gotta work out with the medical faculty, with the licensing in Canada to make sure that I’m not having to restart that eight-year process that I went through. I’m going to get those answers and then I’ll start looking at my options from a football perspective,” he said.

After requesting a trade, the Chiefs sent Duvernay-Tardif to the Jets at the deadline on November 2. He started the final seven games of the season for New York at guard after spending the first nine weeks of the schedule in Kansas City. His current contract expires on Wednesday, March 16 at 4 p.m. ET when the NFL free agent market opens.

The Jets finished last in the AFC East Division with a 4-13 record and tied for the second-worst mark in the entire NFL. Duvernay-Tardif can see signs that head coach Robert Saleh has the Green and White headed in a positive direction, but New York is a long way from being a Super Bowl contender.

“In the NFL, so many games are won in the last drive of the fourth quarter and we gotta be able to not only put ourself in that situation, but after that convert and make it happen — we’ll get there,” Duvernay-Tardif, the Super Bowl LIV champion, said.

“We gotta close games, we gotta find a way to score, get something going and make plays when it’s important in the third and fourth quarter. We gotta build a winning culture and start closing games. We gotta have that sense of urgency, put everything on the line to make sure that we stay on the field offensively and win.”

Duvernay-Tardif could be a key piece up front and in the locker room for the Jets to help stack wins. He has experience with 64 starts in the NFL and brings a championship mentality, both of which New York needs to build a competitive team.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.