KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has returned to the Kansas City Chiefs roster a year after making the decision to opt of the 2020 NFL season.
Instead of joining his teammates to try to run it back for a second Super Bowl appearance, Duvernay-Tardif suited up for a different team.
He stayed home in his native Canada to use his medical degree and fight the COVID-19 crisis. He worked as an orderly at a nursing home in Monreal during his year away from football. He said he wanted any role he could find that helped him fight the pandemic.
That decision has made him a hero to more than just football fans.
“We’re very fortunate to have LDT on our team, not to mention that he’s an excellent offensive lineman,” Dr. Michael Moncure, Truman Medical Center, said.
Moncure is not only a doctor, he’s also a Chiefs season ticket holder. He said he already cheered for his fellow physician before Duvernay-Tardif sacrificed a Super Bowl season to strengthen public health efforts.
“I can’t imagine how dedicated and how smart and how focused someone has to be to continually learn a playbook and train for the NFL, but also successfully matriculate through medical school. He’s my hero from that standpoint,” Moncure said.
Dr. Andrew Schlachter is a critical care specialist at Saint Luke’s Health System. He said Dr. Duvernay-Tardif gave him another reason to cheer for the Chiefs this season.
“I’ve never been more proud to be a Chiefs fan knowing what kind of hero they have on their roster,” Schlachter said. “It puts chills on the back of my neck to think about walking of the field, not for your own personal sake, but to help your community and those around you. I am privileged to be part of the same medical field as he is.”
Duvernay-Tardif was named a 2020 Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year for his work to fight the pandemic. A face shield and a set of Chiefs scrubs he wore while working in the nursing home also ended up on display in the NFL Hall of Fame last season.