KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Just about every Kansas City Chiefs player participated during the first day of the team’s mandatory minicamp Tuesday.
The list of those present includes offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who opted out of last season to work on the frontlines during the pandemic.
“The last time I put a helmet on before today was at the Super Bowl in Miami, and we won it,” Duvernay-Tardif said.
Now he’s finding his place as part of the Chiefs new offensive line.
“It’s a new group out there, but it’s crazy how they welcomed me today. I really love that. I feel like we’re going to have a great group of guys. I know Wiley, I know Allegreti, but everybody else is new,” Duvernay-Tardif told reporters Tuesday.
Duvernay-Tardif spent the past year and a half using his medical degree to help fight COVID-19 at a long-term care facility in his native Quebec.
“I don’t regret my decision. I was in the right place in the right moment and was able to put my medical degree to use,” Duvernay-Tardif said.
The lineman doesn’t have any regrets, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t miss the game.
“Football is in your DNA. Throughout November, December and as we were heading to the playoffs, sometimes on Thursdays I would wake up and be like, ‘OK, is it a shell project? Is it a full speed practice?’ I kept asking myself those questions,” Duvernay-Tardif said.
As for staying in shape, the gyms in Canada have been closed because of the pandemic; still, Duvernay-Tardif said he was still motivated to stay in shape. But there’s nothing like getting out on the field.
“I feel like I’m in great shape. I want to use that to my advantage. And it’s just making sure that I didn’t lose any of the IQ football stuff, the speed of the game and so on. For me, watching film is going to be big this year,” Duvernay-Tardif said.
Duvernay-Tardif said during his break from football, it hit that being a professional athlete is temporary. He’s currently pursuing a masters in public health at Harvard University.