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Laurent Duvernay-Tardif surprised so many Chiefs fans show up to practice

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We sat down with the Kansas City Chiefs sixth round offensive lineman to discuss life in the NFL.

David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/MCT via Getty Images

Now that you're through the draft and into your pro career, how are you easing into things?

LDT: Throughout the summer and over the last couple of years, I was just hoping to get to a camp or to get drafted. I didn't have an idea of how camp was. Now that I'm here, so far it's just a tremendous experience. I'm learning so much. I knew it was going to be a very competitive environment, but at the same time, all of the vets help you so much. They try to help you with learning, and so far it's going well. I'm really happy.

Now that you're on this side of draft weekend, can you take us back to when you were selected?

LDT: For me, the most important thing regarding where I was going to go was the coaching staff. I had the chance to come here to Kansas City a month before the draft, and I really enjoyed talking to Coach Heck and Coach Reid. I knew it was a good fit with them. When I was drafted here, it was just a blast of emotion. I was just so excited.

I was at my agent's place, which is also my best friend, Sasha. He's a friend of mine from high school and we went to university together. When I started to get some attention from the NFL, I asked him to be my agent. He said, "Sure". So we started that together and of course I hired an NFL agent because Sasha could not do all of the work by himself. So just to be there with my best friend in this place watching the draft with a bunch of other fans and seeing my name on NFL Network was just a great experience. We were like, "We made it!" Even though he's 5'2 and can't play football at all, it was still teamwork. It was a great moment. [Laughs]

I was on call and had to go in to assist an emergency c-section on Friday. On Saturday morning I got drafted. -Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

It created a lot of pressure because the month before that, I was doing a pediatric rotation in a hospital in Montreal. At the same time, I was going back and forth to the States for visits. I think I had 10 visits with teams. I did my last pediatric exam on that Friday. I was on call and had to go in to assist an emergency c-section on Friday. On Saturday morning I got drafted, and we partied just a bit because I had to get on a flight to Kansas City. [Laughs] Everything happened really fast, but I'm very happy to be here.

You had the day off Tuesday. How do you spend your time?

LDT: I don't have a car here, so I have to stay on campus. It's just about taking care of my body. I was in the ice bath, like a cold tub, and then a bit of physio stretching and get ready for tomorrow. I also try to spend a lot of time in my playbook just so I'm not confused when I go back on the field tomorrow and I can make all of the corrections that the coaches have asked me to do.

When you first take the field as a Chief, how confused did you feel then?

LDT: It wasn't so much confusion, but the way I played in college and the way we play football here is completely different. I was supposed to be responsible for the b-block or double team to a backer, but now we gotta read the safeties. When I was in OTAs, I was just looking at the defense, but now I think I have a good sense of what's happening on defense and make more reads out of the defense whether it's looking at the safety rotation or the backer alignment or things like that. I think that will all just help me to get better.

What are coaches telling you to work on at this point?

When I saw all of those people, I asked, "Why do all of those people come to practice? It's just practice."  -Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

LDT: As a guard, I need to work on my punches to be able to stop the bull rush and be able to punch with my hands inside the defender. Also it's just learning the playbook. If you want to play fast, you have to know what you're doing. The best way to know what you're doing is to get into your book, watch film and just know what's going on when you get on the field.

How are you feeling about the learning curve overall?

LDT: I'm getting better every day. The most important thing for me is not to make the same mistake over again, so it's making the correction when coach tells you something. I think so far, I'm doing great in that regard. I know there's going to be some hard days and good days, but the important thing is to keep it going.

What's the biggest surprise for you so far?

LDT: Maybe the size of the adventure. It's quite big. To be here, to have 8,000 people showing up for practice. [Laughs] They're showing up for practice? I don't know anybody who played in the NFL so I didn't know what would happen. When I saw all of those people, I asked, "Why do all of those people come to practice? It's just practice." [Laughs] Also I'm going to take an ice bath, but here it's this huge, huge pool. Everything is just so much bigger. I wasn't ready for that. Nobody told me about it, so there's a new surprise every day.

Duvernay-Tardif met the media on his first day at Chiefs camp, July 20.