San Diego Chargers center Nick Hardwick joined Steve Hartman and Mike Costa of Xtra 1360 Fox Sports Radio in studio to discuss Wednesday’s decision to go on the season-ending injured reserve with a reoccurring neck issue.
As usual, Hardwick was frank and honest in talking about his injury, and what the future might hold for the longtime NFL veteran. Hardwick acknowledged that he’s had a history with neck stingers, and that he suffered another one on Monday against Arizona, along with an ankle sprain and a knee injury.
Hardwick’s neck stinger was the second this year, as he also suffered one against San Francisco on Aug. 24. Hardwick said he’s had reccurring nerve issues in his neck since last season, and was concerned that the incidents had escalated.
“Unfortunately, it just seemed like it was heading down that path where it was going to be one a game,” Hardwick said. “We were trying to really slow them down, and it didn’t seem to be working.”
Hardwick said the reccurring neck injuries, along with other injury concerns, led team doctors, the training staff, Chargers general manager Tom Telesco and head coach Mike McCoy encouraging him to shut it down for the year.
Hardwick had started 67 straight games, and 136 total in his 11-year career with the Chargers.
“Obviously he and I from a personal standpoint have been through so much,” quarterback Philip Rivers said. “We were looking forward to having a heck of year. So you feel for him. We’re confident in Rich Ohrnberger. It’s tough getting that news about any of your teammates, but especially him just because how close we work together.”
Hardwick said he fully supports Ohrnberger, who will replace him at center.
“He’s a tremendous player,” Hardwick said about Ohrnberger. “He’s a great athlete. He’s strong. He’s tough. He’s everything you want in a center. He’s a good leader. He’s going to be fine.”
Ohrnberger said that Hardwick texted him on Tuesday evening to let him know about the decision, offering to help in whatever way possible for his backup to prepare for the Seattle Seahawks.
“I was so sorry to hear it,” Ohrnberger said. “He talked to me last night about it. And while I’m excited about the opportunity, I would love to have him out there and still be playing with him.
“It’s a tough loss for the room. It’s a tough loss for the team. But that’s football, and we have to move forward.”
While willing to help, Hardwick said he’ll take a step back this week and not attend offensive line meetings in order to let Ohrnberger take on more of a leadership role with the rest of the unit.
“They have to move forward this year without me -- that’s the fact,” Hardwick said. “They have to figure things out on their own. And I will be there. I will be supportive of them completely, and helping when I can, and when it’s wanted.”