Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is once again putting a pause on his NFL career to devote his time to the medical field.
The former Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets offensive lineman is beginning a residency program at a Montreal-area hospital starting next month, he told the Associated Press. Duvernay-Tardif, who has a medical doctorate, is currently an unrestricted free agent.
"I'm going to prioritize medicine ... and we'll see in September if there's a fit," Duvernay-Tardif, 31, said, via the Associated Press. "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."
Duvernay-Tardif was the first NFL player to opt out of the 2020 season when he left the Kansas City Chiefs after helping them to a Super Bowl win to aid in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Duvernay-Tardif never played for Kansas City again as he was traded to the Jets in November of 2021, going on to play eight games for New York with seven starts.
The Canadian native is confident he can find another team to play for this upcoming season, but just the same is OK with sticking to the medical field if all goes well.
"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," he said. "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."
Duvernay-Tardif has a doctorate in medicine and a master's degree in surgery from McGill University. He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Chiefs and has played in 68 career games with 64 starts, 60 of those games and 57 of those starts coming with K.C.