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 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. Only months after his team had won the Super Bowl, he found himself on the front lines of the pandemic, working in a long-term care facility in Quebec.
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 favourites to repeat as champions in a season that saw countless games postponed due to league-wide outbreaks, including one on Laurent’s own offensive line.
From the incredible high 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 become one of the most fascinating and accomplished people in professional sports.