Laurent Duvernay-Tardif’s great Gaspé Super Bowl ring hunt

The view from the mountaintop is always better if it can be savoured with the folks who helped you ascend, and the people you love.

So when the Kansas City Chiefs asked offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif where he would like to have his Super Bowl championship ring delivered, he opted to have it sent to Gaspé, where he was vacationing with his family and a few close friends.

“It was clear to me that I couldn’t open that package by myself,” Duvernay-Tardif said in a video conference with reporters Wednesday. “I was on holidays in the Gaspésie … I thought it would be fun to open it at the far end of Quebec with a bunch of friends who aren’t used to celebrating major occasions like that with me in Montreal.”

Nice thought. It turned into a bit of an adventure.

The courier company indicated the package would be delivered last Thursday, he said in a video posted to Instagram, but by late Friday afternoon it still hadn’t arrived.

Duvernay-Tardif isn’t the sort of person to wait around (not content to simply play NFL football, he graduated from McGill University’s medical school in 2018). The hunt was on.

First, he drove over to the supermarket that is the official depot for the messenger service. They directed him to a subcontractor’s warehouse nearby.

When he got there, he was greeted by a locked door. But then someone from an adjacent bread delivery business said “you should call J.-C.,” the person who runs the place. Digits were quickly dialled, and after a short conversation the warehouse’s manager hopped in his car and drove back down to the building from a neighbouring town.

“The person who’s in charge of the office was at home, but he came back in to help me find the package,” Duvernay-Tardif said.

Together, they looked through mounds of boxes that had arrived on a truck from Quebec City late the previous evening. Eventually, they found the precious cargo.

“As a proactive kind of person, I looked for it until I found it,” Duvernay-Tardif said.

The Super Bowl champ has a longstanding attachment to the Gaspé region. Living in Mont-Saint-Hilaire, he grew up in a nautical family and spent several summers there as a sailing instructor. He has also stolen away to the area for short getaways after pandemic travel restrictions were lifted.

It was a natural choice for a celebratory weekend escape.

“My parents were there, (girlfriend) Florence (Dubé-Moreau) was there, my friends were there,” he said. “It was a way to celebrate with all of them, which I hadn’t had the chance to do … in the last six months.”

The six-feet-two-inches, 320-pound Duvernay-Tardif had an eventful visit to the region. On Labour Day, he joined the crew of a lobster boat (the owner is a friend) which also has a licence to catch tuna.

It was a successful outing.

In his call with reporters, Duvernay-Tardif described the two-hour struggle to land his catch as “pretty incredible, emotional even.”

“I’m not much of a fisherman … I really enjoyed the experience.” he said. “And afterward they told me it was just a little tuna because it was only 500 pounds. I thought it was pretty big, but apparently they can get a lot bigger.”

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