Nick Hardwick (American football)

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Nick Hardwick
Nick Hardwick (American football).JPG
Hardwick during a game in November, 2012.
No. 61     San Diego Chargers
Center
Personal information
Date of birth: (1981-09-02) September 2, 1981 (age 33)
Place of birth: Franklin, Indiana
Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) Weight: 305 lb (138 kg)
Career information
High school: Indianapolis (IN) Lawrence North
College: Purdue
NFL Draft: 2004 / Round: 3 / Pick: 66
Debuted in 2004 for the San Diego Chargers
Career history
Roster status: Injured reserve
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2013
Games started 135
Games played 135
Stats at NFL.com

Nicholas Adam Hardwick[1] (born September 2, 1981) is an American football center for the San Diego Chargers of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Chargers in the third round of the 2004 NFL Draft, and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2006. He played college football for Purdue.

High school career[edit]

Hardwick attended at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. Unlike most of his peers, he did not play high school football, having "ditched" the sport in the ninth grade.[2] He was a three-year varsity letterman in wrestling and won a state championship.[3]

College career[edit]

Hardwick was a sophomore economics major at Purdue University when his future San Diego Chargers teammate Drew Brees led the Boilermakers to the 2001 Rose Bowl. Inspired, he joined the football team as a walk-on, initially playing as a defensive tackle.[2] The next year, he became the team’s starting center and earned all-Big Ten honors. During his senior year, his starting quarterback was Kyle Orton, who was drafted the following year.

Professional career[edit]

2004 NFL Draft[edit]

Hardwick was picked with the 66th overall selection in the 3rd round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Chargers.

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP Wonderlic
6 ft 3 38 in 295 lb 5.20 s 2.95 s 1.74 s 4.64 s 7.84 s 34 in 9 ft 0 in 27 reps 28
All values from NFL Combine[4][5]

San Diego Chargers[edit]

In 2004, Hardwick began his career by starting all 14 games he played in when incumbent starter Jason Ball held out due to a contract dispute. During the year, the Chargers ranked sixth in rushing offense and allowed the fourth-fewest sacks in the league.

In his second year as a pro, he again started all games he played in as the Chargers ranked in the top ten in rushing offense and in the top half of the league in sacks allowed.

Hardwick (No. 61) snapping the ball to Philip Rivers on USS Ronald Reagan, in 2006

During the 2006 off-season, he agreed to a five-year $17 million contract extension with the Chargers. He then went on to start all 16 games for the first time in his career as the Chargers ranked second in rushing offense and eighth in sacks allowed.

In December 2006, Hardwick was named the backup center for the AFC squad in the 2007 Pro Bowl, Jeff Saturday being the starter. He was one of 11 Chargers selected to the Pro Bowl that year.[6]

In his fourth season with San Diego, he started 12 games, being forced to miss 4 due to a foot injury.

In 2008, Hardwick was inactive for the first three weeks of the season while recovering from an offseason foot injury. He returned to the starting lineup at center in Week 4 to play the remaining 13 games.

In 2009, Hardwick suffered an ankle injury so severe that it nearly ended his career. He missed 13 games that season, but returned in time for a late-season push to the playoffs and he hasn’t missed a game since.

2010 was a comeback year for the center as he was back to his usual form. He started all 16 games for the second time of his career.[7]

In 2011, Hardwick played another full season starting every game. He was one of the few players on a crippled offensive line hurt by multiple injuries. After the 2011 season ended, Hardwick became an unrestricted free agent, he had recently become a new father, and he had just watched one of his best friends and linemates, left guard Kris Dielman retire after suffering a serious concussion. All three factors led Hardwick to ponder whether he wanted to continue playing football, and if he did, whether he wanted to play it in San Diego or make a fresh start elsewhere. Hardwick decided to stay in San Diego and finish his career there, opting to sign a new three-year contract with the Chargers, worth $13,500,000.

In his 10th year with the Chargers, Hardwick maintained his place at center, starting in all 16 games and earning Chargers' Lineman of the Year honors for the second time in a row. However, quarterback Philip Rivers was sacked 49 times, a career high, due to the offensive line's struggle with injury and poor performance.

2014 Season[edit]

On September 10, 2014 the Chargers placed Hardwick on injured reserve with a neck injury, ending his season after one game.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Hardwick signing an autograph.

Hardwick is married to his college sweetheart Jayme-Lee Biamonte, who played for the Boilermakers women's soccer team[9] and currently serves as the San Diego State Aztecs women's soccer assistant coach.[10] They have two sons: Hudson Harold and Theodore. [11] Hudson was born the night before the Chargers’ nationally-televised game against the Baltimore Ravens in December 2011 and the next night, NBC showed America a picture of baby Hudson during the broadcast of the game.

Hardwick maintains close ties to his alma mater. In 2007, he endowed an annual football scholarship that is given to a walk-on player who earns it, just as Hardwick did. And in 2008, Purdue presented him with the Drew Brees Mental Attitude Award, presented by the Joe Tiller/Northwest Indiana Chapter of the National Football Foundation. Hardwick became the fourth former Boilermaker to receive the award.[12]

An economics and management graduate from Purdue, Hardwick is the Chargers’ union representative and he guided the players through the 2011 lockout. He sharpened his business acumen when he attended the NFL’s Business and Entrepreneurial Program at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 2009.

Hardwick has been involved in a number of charitable causes throughout his career, but his main devotion is to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation (MCLEF), an organization that raises money to provide advanced education for the children of Marines and law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

Hardwick is known for his full length sleeve tattoos on both arms.

In his free time, Hardwick enjoys reading, drawing and spending time at the beach with his family.

References[edit]

External links[edit]