Chiefs lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif graduates from McGill University medical school

For four years, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has juggled dual responsibilities as a guard for the Kansas City Chiefs and as a medical student at Montreal's McGill University.

Duvernay-Tardif is now free to concentrate solely on football. He became a doctor Tuesday when he graduated from McGill's medical school.

"Since the day I got drafted, I promised myself I was going to finish my studies and get that MD while I was still playing," Duvernay-Tardif said recently. "It's one of those life projects that you promise yourself you're going to accomplish, and I'm on the verge of doing it, so I'm pretty excited.

"But right now, football is my main priority. I want to focus and see how good I can be. I'm putting medicine on hold in order to really maximize my opportunity in the NFL. I love playing football. For all of those who sometimes doubt that I really want to be here because I've got a medical degree, having a really strong Plan B and still playing football shows how much I really love the game. I love being out there with the guys. I love the chemistry we have in the locker room. Being out there is a privilege."

The Chiefs drafted Duvernay-Tardif in the sixth round in 2014, and he became a starter the following year. All the while, he has gone back and forth between football and his medical studies. He has been a football player during the season and a medical student for a few months afterward.

"Getting drafted into the NFL was way more intense," Duvernay-Tardif said. "When you get drafted, it almost feels like a surprise. You don't know which team you're going to, so it's really intense and really emotional at that specific moment. With regards to medicine, it's more like a marathon. I've been doing it for the past eight years, and it was always that vision. Every time the season was over and I was driving back to Montreal, and I was getting back into medical school while everybody else was enjoying their offseason, I was motivating myself with the thought of pushing through because it's going to be worth it in the end.

"Nobody can take that from me. When I graduate, I'm going to be a doctor for life. I'm proud to be in the NFL, and it's been an incredible journey to get here, but being able to combine medical school at the same time, this is the accomplishment I'm proudest about, to be able to combine both. So many times I heard people tell me I'd have to make a choice."