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Laurent Duvernay-Tardif putting NFL career on hold to begin residency program

Mike Florio and Chris Simms discuss their offseason outlooks on the New York Jets' defense heading into the 2022 NFL season.

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.