Analysis Off the Field

Chiefs Offensive Lineman inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame in an interesting fashion

Former starting RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who helped Kansas City win Super Bowl LIV, has medical scrubs grace the HOF while combatting the COVID pandemic.

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, the Chiefs starting right guard for the past five years, opted out before the 2020 season started in order to take advantage of his doctorate degree and serve on the frontlines at a long-term medical facility outside Montreal. Although he isn’t suiting up in red and yellow on Sundays this season, the Pro Football Hall of Fame decided to honor him the best way they knew how.

On Friday, November 14th, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced that they received a new addition to the Hall in the form of medical scrubs (sporting a Chiefs logo) and a white lab coat, both worn by a Super Bowl champion:

Most Chiefs fans know about Duvernay-Tardif and his accomplishments off the field, like his work as a feature reporter for the 2018 Winter Olympics or his knighting by the National Order of Quebec. Most likely one has heard of his Doctorate of Medicine (M.D.) from McGill University that he received in 2018–news that echoed throughout the league after his request to add “M.D.” to his jersey was denied by the NFL.

Now the NFL may want to reconsider their decision as today he is first, and foremost, a doctor of medicine instead of a professional football player. But before the NFL could publicly recognize his decision–(like everyone knows the league’s PR team will do when he returns)–the Pro Football Hall of Fame celebrated him and his magnanimous decision with the retiring of his other jersey.

The right guard, who was picked 200th overall in the 2014 draft, has started 57 of the 60 games he’s played in since being drafted and has been replaced by Andrew Wylie in eight of the Chiefs’ first nine games this season. Wylie has certainly filled the role well, only allowing one sack while accruing just two penalties on the season (according to PFF), and is on pace to play over 90 more snaps than ‘the good doctor’ did during the 2019 regular season.

Although Duvernay-Tardif is surely being missed on the offensive line the Chiefs have definitely made due in his absence. In fact, as of week 9, the Chiefs offensive line is ranked 6th in pass protection and 14th in run blocking, while only allowing 12 sacks to come through all season.

The offensive line has been key in the Chiefs success this season, only allowing pressure on 20.4% of plays so far and giving Patrick Mahomes a cleaner pocket for longer–averaging 2.5 seconds of pocket time (according to Pro Football Reference)–which has boosted Mahomes’ success through the air.

While there may have been some who criticized players for opting out of the 2020 season, whether it be for fear of getting sick or to protect their loved ones, there is no doubt that Duvernay-Tardif made his decision with the purest of intentions. At the moment it is uncertain whether the good doctor will return after the 2020 season, but if he does he will earn $2.6 million thanks to the five-year extension he signed with KC in 2018.

Choosing to put aside a chance to repeat as Super Bowl champion in order to help people who are succumbing to a global pandemic can probably be listed as one of the most honorable things one can do in their life, and no matter what Duvernay-Tardif decides to do after the 2020 season, we can all be sure that he is one of the best of us.

Maybe now, if he chooses to return in the future, Roger Goodell and the NFL will finally allow him to add “M.D.” to his jersey…

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