After pausing his football career at multiple junctures, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is stepping away from the gridiron permanently. The former Chiefs and Jets guard announced his retirement (via Instagram) Thursday morning.
Famous for his blocker/doctor duality, Duvernay-Tardif played eight NFL seasons. Although the Chiefs drafted the Canadian guard in the 2014 sixth round, he did not play as a rookie. Duvernay-Tardif, 32, also passed on playing in 2020, becoming the first player to opt out during the COVID-19 pandemic. But the unique O-line presence returned to the game in 2021, finishing his career with two Jets seasons.
The McGill University alum secured a Chiefs extension back in 2017 and played a starting role on their Super Bowl LIV-winning squad two years later. Duvernay-Tardif returned from a fractured fibula during the 2018 season, being activated ahead of the Chiefs’ playoff run that year. But he did not suit up for the team in one of its postseason contests. He was back in his starting right guard role in 2019, starting 14 regular-season games and all three Kansas City playoff contests.
Duvernay-Tardif’s extension — a five-year, $42.4MM accord — came a year after the Chiefs had extended Eric Fisher and signed Mitchell Schwartz. This trio became the team’s O-line foundation for Patrick Mahomes, who made his starter debut in Duvernay-Tardif’s fifth season. Duvernay-Tardif spent more seasons blocking for Alex Smith (three) than Mahomes (two), but the Chiefs’ O-line unraveled at the end of the medical professional’s opt-out campaign. When the Chiefs surveyed the damage from Super Bowl LV, they moved on from Fisher, Schwartz and Duvernay-Tardif — none of whom were available during the Buccaneers’ blowout win — and remade their O-line in 2021.
Cutting Fisher and Schwartz in March 2021, the Chiefs held onto Duvernay-Tardif until training camp. The team, which had signed Joe Thuney and drafted promising guard Trey Smith in Round 6 in 2021, traded Duvernay-Tardif to the Jets midway through camp. The St. Hilaire, Quebec, native started eight games as a Jet, re-signing with the team during the 2022 season as injuries mounted. He played in five Jets games last season, closing out his higher-profile career.
Duvernay-Tardif will likely be best remembered for managing two careers and pausing his more glamourous craft to venture back to Canada during the initial months of the pandemic. Last year, he enrolled in a residency program at a hospital near Montreal. Duvernay-Tardif closes his NFL career with 65 career starts and more than $25MM in earnings.