Free agent offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif will begin a residency program at a Montreal-area hospital next month, he told The Canadian Press on Wednesday.
Duvernay-Tardif, 31, is not retiring from the NFL.
He will take care of medical requirements to become a physician before reassessing his football career in September, leaving open the door to play this season.
“I’m going to prioritize medicine . . . and we’ll see in September if there’s a fit,” Duvernay-Tardif said, via the Associated Press. “After eight years in the NFL, and I don’t want to sound pretentious by saying this, but I think I’ve earned the right to do what’s best for me and not just for football and kind of bet on myself a little bit.
“I’m really comfortable with the risk, and I’m pretty confident there’s going to be an offer on the table in September, if I want it, and if I want it, I’ll take it. If medicine is going well and I feel like I’ve got to be out there in front of 80,000 people to play the sport I love, well, I’ll go but I think I want it to be more on my terms.”
Duvernay-Tardif appeared in eight games with seven starts for the Jets last season after a trade from Kansas City. He spent his first six seasons with the Chiefs after they made him a sixth-round choice.
Duvernay-Tardif has a doctorate in medicine and a master’s in surgery from the McGill University Faculty of Medicine, where he graduated in May 2018. He opted out of the 2020 season to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic by working a long-term care facility in Montreal.