It was September 2017. The Chiefs were preparing to start the season and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif had signed a huge contract a few months earlier. There’s no better way to see how much his life has changed than having a little beer with him in his downtown Kansas City apartment…
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I remember being almost disappointed at the time. Not the beer, certainly not the invitation, but the fact that Laurent’s famous life had hardly changed.
The new castle life of the famous LDT? No thanks, playing the upstart was clearly not his thing!
With so little new, what story could I write? Faced with blank page syndrome, I quickly realized that the story was right there for readers. Despite a rainfall of 41 million, Laurent had only changed his old 1981 Jeep in his life.
The rest were athletes and people with the same goals, the same lifestyle and the same dreams. He told me that day that “the best thing is not to see your money” and that “this apartment doesn’t cost me more than my other one in Montreal.”
It was easy to see that he remained the same despite being the fourth-highest paid guard in the NFL at the time.
When the clock strikes midnight…
There is also another time that well encapsulates what this unique Bibite that is Laurent could be like.
During the 2018 season, he suffered a serious knee injury, which he self-diagnosed on the field (you have to do that!). After spending 12 weeks like crazy on the injured list and working hard in hopes of seeing the field again in the conference finals, he was kept aside during the lackluster game against the Patriots.
In Kansas City, I visited him in the locker room after that brutal 37-31 overtime loss to get his impressions. A team publicist brushed me off by telling me that the players who weren’t in uniform wouldn’t be giving interviews until the next day.
“I’ll definitely call you tomorrow,” Laurent promised me and winked at me.
A few hours later, at the stroke of midnight, my phone rang.
“It’s midnight, it’s morning, I can talk to you,” he told me.
He found it unimaginable to abandon me despite my trip to Kansas City. He had respected the Chiefs’ request down to the second so as not to upset them, but he understood the importance of giving me material as quickly as possible.
It was also the case that Laurent was behind the scenes, even far away from the microphones and cameras.
An exceptional athlete
Photo Martin Chevalier
Why tell all this? Because everything else has been said about Laurent Duvernay-Tardif’s extraordinary career.
His journey between football and medicine, his involvement with CHSLD amid COVID-19, his Super Bowl, his baking skills in the family business or even his famous wooden bowl advertisement.
How many athletes can boast of reaching the pinnacle of their sport while simultaneously pursuing 526 other projects, including higher education?
We must not forget that he is much more than just a football player, he is an important athlete in the sports history of Quebec who retires today. Few people, like him, manage to go beyond their sport and find a place in the lives of ordinary people.
One day, a future generation of young people will know about this unique journey when his life is immortalized in the cinema. They will no doubt say that it is exaggerated and arranged with the views man.
While we wait for them to realize that this is all actually true, hello Laurent! Happy retirement!