KC Chiefs: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif talks about his year away from the NFL

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif will admit that two competing facets of being away from the National Football League are true. The K.C. Chiefs offensive lineman says he might have saved himself from some more wear and tear on his body. He’s also going to need some time to get back into football shape.

To his credit, no one can fault Duvernay-Tardif for his efforts in the last year to stay in shape. He’s been working out regularly for the past year and is looking good in his first days back in camp at mandatory practices for the Chiefs. However, even he admits that you have too play football to be in “football shape.”

“Back home in Montreal, the gym had been closed for the past year,” said Duvernay-Tardif to reporters on Tuesday. “I was able to stay in pretty good shape, but I think when it comes to football shape, there’s no other treatment than just playing football. I’m here. Today was a great day, a great start, and Im looking forward to more practices. I think that’s the key is to get exposure, get some reps.

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif discusses his year away from the KC Chiefs.

“So far I feel great. Being away from the game for a year, of course you get rusty a little bit, but at the same time, I’ve never benched, clean and squat as much as I did in the last year. I feel in great shape, and hopefully it’s gonna be able to translate on the field this year.”

Last year at this time, Duvernay-Tardif became the first NFL player to officially opt out for the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chiefs lineman used his medical training to help on the front lines, medically speaking, back in his native Montreal in the time away from the game. However, he was also committed to working out, even if constraints made that difficult in Quebec.

“I built a little gym on my balcony and I worked out outside, because that’s all I was allowed to do through quarantine and curfew and so on for the last year. I had a pretty good set-up. Don’t get me wrong, it was cold, but I had some heaters on the side and so on. I basically trained four times a week for the past year, so I feel in pretty good shape.”

The offensive line room has changed quite a bit since Duvernay-Tardif has been gone, but he was quick to acknowledge the “good guys” who have been brought in and believes the Chiefs are primed for another deep run. In fact, during his time away, LDT said he was hungry to get back to the sport he loves and especially to replicate the feeling of winning at Arrowhead Stadium once again in front of fans.

“I realized how privileged I am to be able to perform in the biggest sports league in the world,” said Duvernay-Tardif about his opt-out season. “Being away for a year made me realize that football doesn’t last forever. Whenever you are still healthy, you gotta work hard and make sure you can get back out there. That feeling of winning at Arrowhead Stadium in front of 80,000 people is just nuts. I want to make sure I’m still on the field to feel that.”