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NFL: Laurent Duvernay Tardif is back with the Jets, after his residency

NFL: Laurent Duvernay Tardif is back with the Jets, after his residency

MONTREAL – Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, whom Americans now call “The Doctor”, is back in the NFL with the New York Jets. And it’s not for the money, the fame, or the wins. But simply for the love of football.

The veteran guard was reunited with his former Jets teammates (6-3) on Friday, bringing depth to an offensive line that has been decimated by injuries so far this season.

” It feels good. It’s crazy how I missed it; it is indescribable. I wondered why I wanted to play football again, and yes, it’s to win, but it’s above all to be a team. This feelingthere, that camaraderie, seeing the guys you haven’t seen since last January, who are happy that you’re here. To feel that you can contribute. It is something precious, ”he first explained by videoconference on Friday afternoon.

“It’s the love of football, the feeling of belonging to a locker room. Yesterday we had dinner with the offensive line. There’s something so precious about those moments of sport… It’s when you’re outside the world of football that you realize how privileged you are to be able to do this, at the highest sporting level, in the NFL. There are no words to describe it,” he continued.

The former McGill University player put his sports career on hold after spending the last two months of last season with the Jets to begin his medical residency at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. Duvernay-Tardif also pointed out that he has now completed two and a half months of his residency in family medicine, which will be 24 months in total. He now hopes to play football until February, at Super Bowl LVII, which would force him to resume residency in March 2023 only.

“It was clear that when I started my residency in medicine in July, I was going to reduce my opportunities and that it was going to be a question of timing. It’s often that in football: all you need is an opportunity, which you have to seize. I had been looking at what was available with Sasha (Ghavami, her agent) for a few weeks; we were getting calls, we were having discussions, and when there was this fitThere with the Jets, it’s a system that I know, they are coaches that I respect a lot and it’s a winning team. That was very important to me, to be able to join a team that had a chance of making the playoffs and playing in January or February,” LDT said.

“It was a matter of timing. When it’s there, you have to jump on it. So I took the plane, and I’ve been here for three days already,” said the friendly colossus.

One thing is certain, it is that the staff of the Jets made him feel that he was appreciated, and especially that he was trusted.

“It’s phenomenal,” exclaimed Jets head coach Robert Saleh about the Mont-Saint-Hilaire native and his ability to juggle his football career and that of a doctor.

” That says everything. The Jets hardly asked me anything when they called Sasha to ask if I wanted to come practice with them. The training lasted eight minutes and it was done. They trust me: if I say I’m ready to play, it’s because I’m ready. And I believe you earn that respect through years of experience. After all, I am starting my ninth year on paper in the NFL, it is not nothing. »

As for his future in the NFL, the main interested party did not want to go beyond this season. “I’m a guy who lives in the moment,” he quipped.

The 31-year-old Quebecer had given up the 2020 season, while playing for the Kansas City Chiefs, to help medical staff fight the coronavirus pandemic. Then, midway through last campaign, he waived his no-trade clause, allowing the Chiefs to trade him to the Jets.

The right-side guard from Mont-Saint-Hilaire then started seven of the last eight games for the Jets, which finished last in the AFC East Division.

LDT wants to take its time

Duvernay-Tardif, an unrestricted free agent, had mentioned to CP in June that he was not giving up on his football career, and even added that he would reassess his options in the fall.

He will therefore put his residency in medicine on ice for a few months in order to reconnect with the Jets, who offered him a tryout in training on Wednesday before granting him a new contract. Duvernay-Tardif will fill the gaps that have appeared in the Jets’ offensive front due to numerous injuries.

However, do not expect to see him face the New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon.

“It won’t be right now,” said Duvernay-Tardif without hesitation. I’m still on the practice squad, and I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. I am aware that there are only nine games left on the regular schedule, and if I want to contribute then my rise will have to be rapid. But at the same time, it’s been 10 months since I played football, so I have to give myself time. What I liked about my interaction with the Jets is that they want to give me that time. We will see in the next few days, the next few weeks, but as I have already said, football is a sport of opportunities. »

Both tackle Mekhi Becton and guard/tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker will miss the rest of the season due to injuries. Tacklers George Fant and Max Mitchell are currently on the injured list, while starting left-side tackle Duane Brown is playing despite a shoulder injury after missing the first four games of the season.

“He looks good,” Saleh said of LDT. It will be a plus, obviously, to be able to count on one more veteran, someone who knows our system, someone who has already played in the NFL and who has already been a regular player in this section, who knows what it is, and who understands our language. »

The Jets released offensive lineman Myron Cunningham from their practice squad to offer Duvernay-Tardif a job.

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