NFL |  "I told myself that I had not returned to the game in vain" - Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

NFL | “I told myself that I had not returned to the game in vain” – Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

He has been back in Montreal for a week. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has just had an extraordinary season, as his career has been from the start, some will say. Between his return to the game and the Damar Hamlin incident, the New York Jets guard had a huge chance: to live his dream for the second time.

“On the field, you look at the crowd. In addition, in Seattle, it’s a beautiful stadium, it’s noisy. You take advantage of it. When you leave caucus, you walk towards the ball and you put your hand on the ground, ”says Duvernay-Tardif on the phone about his first, and only, start of the season, on January 1.

LDT had joined the Jets’ practice squad in mid-November, week 10 of activity, after spending the start of the season without a contract. He graduated to the regular team a few weeks later, but saw no action on the field.

The Jets were then visiting Lumen Field, home of the Seahawks. The visitors lost by the score of 23 to 6. On the other hand, on a personal level, the Quebecer was relieved.

357 days had passed between his last two departures. “It was surreal. I walked out of there with a smile. We didn’t win, but that game brings back good memories, because I just played football again. »

Between his residency in medicine, the activities of his foundation and his other related tasks, he doubted. “It’s a privilege to have started again in an NFL game, when a little before we didn’t really know what was going to happen. »

While treading the lawn, he was “febrile”. “I told myself that I had not returned in vain. I had promised myself to enjoy every moment, ”he adds.

“People don’t understand”

Duvernay-Tardif is eager to see what fate will be in store for his former Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl teammates. Mahomes and his band will try to take the measure of the mighty Philadelphia Eagles.

Besides, the 31-year-old didn’t hesitate to explain, in detail, why Mahomes was a unique quarterback.

The famous number 15 finished first in the NFL in passing touchdowns and passing yards this season. However, having played with him for three and a half years, Mahomes’ dominance doesn’t just translate to statistics, assures Duvernay-Tardif.

Underhand passes, left hand passes. People don’t understand how difficult it is to read a defense by doing a fake throw-in, stepping to the left and avoiding a guy who comes to tackle you. He is able to read everything that happens on the cover. It’s at times like these that you tell yourself that there aren’t many people who are capable of doing that.

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

The praise continued: “There aren’t many quarterbacks who are able to lead an offensive line to make our blocks so much easier, because he knows where the pressure is coming from, he knows who he wants. throw. He knows where he wants to have a firm pocket. He’s able to diagnose so much in such a short time and he makes athletic moves with so much composure. »

The opportunity to reflect

The year 2023 had started badly in the NFL. On January 2, Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills collapsed on the field during Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

His heart stopped beating after contact with Tee Higgins. He had to be resuscitated on the ground, before spending several days in hospital.

When it happened, LDT was playing board games with teammates. The game played in the background, on mute.

Then, disaster. A shock wave. “Everyone stayed silent,” he recalls.

Who was the most shaken between Laurent Duvernay-Tardif the football player and the doctor? “Ah… the soccer player,” he admits, lowering his voice. As if the emotions were still alive. The tone of the discussion immediately changed.

“The concern was not to know if he was going to come back to play one day, but more if he was well, if he was going to leave the hospital. It makes you think. »

The only good news, if there is any, is that “there was really no better place than on an NFL field for this kind of incident to happen. »

In his doctor’s opinion, usually the chances of survival for victims of cardiac arrest outside of a hospital or health center “are not super high. »

The following

Duvernay-Tardif does not know if his future lies in the NFL. For now, “I want to drop off”.

In the short term, his main goal is to find a way to use his platform to continue to promote healthy lifestyles.

“I’ve always tended to throw myself into a million projects and media tours, he says, but here I have to think about what’s next. »



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