Books·Canadian

Red Zone by Laurent Durvernay-Tardif

The Canadian NFL star writes about working in a long-term care home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canadian NFL star writes about working in a long-term care home during the COVID-19 pandemic

The red book cover features a cut-out photo of a man with a beard wearing a medical jacket and stethoscope, holding a football.

In July 2020, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif sent shockwaves through the sports world by becoming the first NFL player to opt out of the upcoming season during the global pandemic.

As plans for the 2020 NFL season ramped up and daily cases of Covid-19 continued to skyrocket, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, a fixture on the offensive line of the Kansas City Chiefs, stepped away from the game he loved. Not only an active player but also a medical school graduate, Laurent withdrew when he realized that continuing to play — and potentially spreading the virus — was antithetical to everything he believed in. For the first time in his remarkable career, Laurent couldn't reconcile his twin passions of football and medicine, and with his team's Super Bowl win only months behind him, found himself on the front lines of the pandemic, working in a long-term care facility in Quebec.

But that was just the beginning of the story. As Laurent settled into his new reality, he quickly came up against a severe Covid outbreak in his hospital unit. Meanwhile, his team, the Kansas City Chiefs, entered the playoffs as the favorites to repeat as champions in a season that saw countless games postponed due to league-wide outbreaks, including one on his own offensive line.

From the incredible highs of winning the Super Bowl to the burnout of working as an orderly, Red Zone takes readers inside Laurent's life as he grapples with his roles of medical professional and NFL football player during a global pandemic. But this captivating memoir also reveals Laurent's remarkable personal story, detailing how his insatiable curiosity and solid work ethic led him from his family's bakery in Montreal to his role as one of the most fascinating and accomplished people in professional sports. (From HarperCollins Canada)

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is a right guard for the New York Jets. He won a Superbowl in 2020 with the Kansas City Chiefs. He graduated with a medical degree from McGill University in 2018 and then worked as an orderly in a long-term care facility in Montreal during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, he received the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award. His scrubs and lab coat are on display in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Interviews with Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

Canadian NFL player Laurent Duvernay-Tardif should be playing in the Super Bowl in two weeks with the Kansas City Chiefs, but instead he's working at a long-term care home in Montreal. He joins us to talk about football, and the front-line fight against COVID-19.
In a conversation first aired in January, NFL star Laurent Duvernay-Tardif tells us why he has no regrets about skipping last season to work as an orderly in a long-term care facility in his home province of Quebec.
When we last spoke to NFL offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, he had skipped a football season to join the front lines of COVID-19. Now he's on the offensive again — both on the field and in schools against poor nutrition and fitness.

It's about comfort and dignity, says Canadian NFL player on working in long-term care home

2 years ago
Duration 1:54
Quebec's Laurent Duvernay-Tardif of the Kansas City Chiefs opted out of the NFL season to work in a long-term care home during the COVID-19 pandemic. He talks to Matt Galloway of CBC Radio's The Current about what he learned.

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif skipped the Super Bowl to care for COVID-19 patients

2 years ago
Duration 7:57
Super Bowl champion Laurent Duvernay-Tardif could have been contending for his second ring this weekend but he decided to sit out the NFL season to work as an orderly in Quebec caring for COVID-19 patients.

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