Former NFL player and McGill grad Darche merits milestone with medical degree

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Source: Earl Zukerman, McGill Sports InfoOffice

MONTREAL – Jean-Philippe Darche, a former McGillUniversity football star who went on to play in both the CFL andthe NFL, has finally received his walking papers. The 39-year-oldnative of St. Laurent, Que., who earned a science degree inphysiology from McGill in 1998, graduated from the University ofKansas school of medicine, Monday.

He was one of only three in hisclass to merit a perfect 4.0 grade point average.

“J.P” as he is more commonly known, is the older brother ofMathieu Darche, a McGill hockey all-Canadian and commerce grad whohad a lengthy pro hockey career, including a recent stint with theMontreal Canadiens.

Kansas and McGill are historicallly intertwined as JamesNaismith, the inventor of basketball in 1891, was a stellar athleteat McGill before graduating with a divinity degree in 1887. Helater spent a significant portion of his life as a basketball coachand administrator at Kansas. Now following in Darche’s footsteps isLaurent Duvernay-Tardif, also a medical student at McGill, who wasrecently drafted and signed by the Kansas City Chiefs.

An all-Canadian middle linebacker and long-snapper for fiveyears at McGill, J.P. Darche received the Russ Jackson Trophy in1998 as the CIS player who best combines football prowess withacademic excellence and citizenship. He graduated in only threeyears, then attended McGill medical school for two additional yearswhile serving as co-captain of the Redmen and concluded hisfive-year collegiate career as the all-time leading tackler inschool history with 272 tackles, including 132 solos.

Drafted in the third round by the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts in1999, Darche played one season as the Argos long-snapper, then madethe lofty jump to the NFL, where he had a productive nine-yearcareer with the Seattle Seahawks and the Chiefs. In 2006, he becameonly the second CIS grad to play in the Super Bowl, where theSeahawks suffered a 21-10 loss to Pittsburgh. He dressed for 97games over seven seasons with the Seahawks and served as aco-captain in his last season before moving onto the Chiefs for twoyears, where he suited up for 23 contests before retiring with ahip injury. Upon retirement from the Chiefs, he remained in KansasCity to complete the medical school journey that he began atMcGill.

In 2013, he was named to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honour MedicalSociety for commitment to high academic standing, combined withleadership among peers, professionalism, a firm sense of ethics,promise of future success in medicine and a commitment to servicein the school and community.

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