By any measure, Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is the recipient of a financial windfall.
Duvernay-Tardif, 26, recently inked a five-year extension with Kansas City worth $41.25 million, including a $10 million signing bonus. That’s life-changing money, the kind of money that would make many people kick their feet up for a bit and relax.
But not Duvernay-Tardif, who immediately flew back to Montreal after signing his contract in Kansas City on Tuesday and returned to work at Royal Victoria Hospital, where he’s diligently continuing his work to become a full-fledged doctor in May 2018.
“I actually promised myself that I was going to graduate,” said Duvernay-Tardif, who said he is on pace to reach that goal. “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.
“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.”
Duvernay-Tardif actually dialed in for the conference call with local media on Wednesday from the hospital, where he’s currently helping geriatric patients dealing with dementia, delirium and more.
“When we hang up, I’m going to go see another patient that just presented an emergency,” Duvernay-Tardif said.
So, yes, money isn’t about to change the long-term goals of professional football’s most interesting man, who is determined to prove it is possible to juggle both professions, though he has every intention of living up to the deal.
In fact, Duvernay-Tardif is already looking forward to returning to the Chiefs for the beginning of organized team activities in April, though he added he might be a week late because he needs to finish up his yearly medical school rotation, which lasts three months.
“I signed for a five-year extension, and I plan on playing those five years,” said Duvernay-Tardif, a two-year starter in Kansas City. “That’s my mind-set right now. I’m trying to picture what my schedule is going to be in terms of medical school and once I graduate, but one decision that I took yesterday was for sure to play out all that contract if — knock on wood — health allows me to.”
He certainly hope it does. But whenever his football career comes to an end, Duvernay-Tardif will have the sort of backup plan — and money in the bank, to boot — that most people can only dream of.
“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,” Duvernay-Tardif said. “I think first things first, let’s finish that, let’s get a good season next year, and then, we’ll figure it out after that.”