Duvernay-Tardif Moved To Tears After Chiefs' Contract Extension

The right guard will be a member of the Chiefs for the foreseeable future

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif couldn't help himself.

There he stood, speaking French to the Montreal media in his parents' bakery, "Le Pain dans les Voiles," Tuesday afternoon, just a day after the Kansas City Chiefs reportedly made him the richest football player in the history of his native Canada.

Tears flowed from the 26-year-old offensive lineman's eyes.

"I don't know," Duvernay-Tardif, now speaking English in a conference call with the Kansas City media Wednesday morning, explained. "At some point, when I was looking at my mom and dad with their little uniforms selling some bread to customers—I used to spend all my days and weekends over there baking and selling pastries."

The Montreal media questioned the once-bread connoisseur about now being considered among the highest-valued offensive guards in the NFL.

"It shocked me at that moment," Duvernay-Tardif said, "that the little guy from Montreal that started playing football a little later than everybody else, who didn't believe he had a chance to play in the NFL until about four years ago, was now negotiating a really big contract. All of it together was what got me crying a little bit."

The Chiefs selected Duvernay-Tardif in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft with the 200th overall pick. After not playing a snap during his rookie season, Duvernay-Tardif earned the starting nod at right guard out of training camp in St. Joseph, Missouri, in 2015.

The only hiccup in otherwise smooth sailing since then was a three-game stretch early that season, during which Duvernay-Tardif was benched.

"I was for sure not good enough," Duvernay-Tardif admitted.

But four weeks later, head coach Andy Reid reinserted him into the starting lineup, and he has held the role ever since.

"When I came back, I think I was a little bit more mature as a player, and I gained a little bit of confidence," he said.

Between 2015 and 2016, Duvernay-Tardif started in 27 games for the Chiefs.

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"Laurent has grown significantly in his three years as a professional," Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said in the team's official release Tuesday. "He brings a lot of mental and physical toughness to the position, and last season he was able to become a key contributor to our offense. Laurent has a bright future here."

Reid agreed.

"It's been a meteoric rise for him from a technique standpoint, just learning how to play the game, and he's done a great job," he said. "A hard worker and he's smart. You could argue he's one of our toughest guys if not the toughest on the offensive line. The way he goes about his business has been great."

As is well known by now, the long-term deal is probably not even the most impressive part of Duvernay-Tardif's life.

During each offseason he has spent as a member of the Chiefs, he's continued his medical studies at McGill University in Montreal, and he actually spoke to the media in Kansas City in between shifts at the Royal Victoria Hospital Wednesday.

Despite the security that comes with an NFL contract extension, Duvernay-Tardif intends to keep the promise he made to himself—that he would finish his medical degree.

And while that accomplishment will be nice, the meaning of it runs much deeper.

"My message to kids and people that are playing football right now at the lower level in Canada is that it's possible to combine both passions at the same time," he said. "I've always had a passion for medical school, and I've always had a passion for football. I think it's my duty to finish my studies. Plus, I'm so close from finishing."

According to his schedule, Duvernay-Tardif is due to complete medical school in May of 2018.

"I've been studying for that since six years now, so I think it just makes sense to finish that. Yes, there are going to be a lot of questions about residency and getting specialized, because of course, you need to be a full-time student in order to do that. I think, 'First thing's first.'

"Let's finish that, let's get a good season next year, and then, we'll figure it out after that."

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