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Player Quotes:Nick Hardwick, Antonio Garay, Jarret Johnson, Melvin Ingram, Corey Lynch,Kendall Reyes
Center Nick Hardwick
With Norv Turner being let go, is there any uncertainty with this team?
“There’s uncertainty for sure. You just have to handle yourself and prepare for what might come in the future. We have no idea who’s coming in or what kind of operation we’re going to run, but the guys here are going to work hard.”
Is there any excitement building knowing that you’re going to get a new start?
“There is, no doubt, but we’ll take a moment and reflect and look back on some of the great times that we’ve had and some of the down periods. All of the coaches here have done an amazing job. The last three years have been a little rougher than we anticipated. But we have to find a way to just come to work, work hard, prepare and be positive about everything. We’ve had a great time over the last couple of years, especially the last six years.”
When the players gave Norv a standing ovation, was that by design or was it spontaneous?
“It just happened and it’s much deserved. We have the utmost respect for him. He’s a great, great man and through all the ups and downs, he stayed the exact same. He is who he is and he’s not going to change no matter what’s going on around him. He treats all the guys with the utmost respect. It’s been great to learn from him. You have to stay even and that’s how he approaches life, staying even and being ready to work while pushing forward.”
How much have you learned from Norv?
“I’ve learned how to be a man. There are people in this business who treat players more like pieces of meat. He’s treated everyone like a grown man and treated us with respect. The thing that I took from him early on is that he never treated me poorly because I was hurt. I know of people who have treated players poorly when they were hurt because they weren’t producing at the time. He stays with you, stays steady and I’m very thankful for him.”
Is there a feeling that if this team had won a couple more games, this wouldn’t be happening right now?
“Everyone wants to win more games. We haven’t won a Super Bowl here yet. So no matter how it unfolds, you always want to win more games. It’s upsetting and we’re sad to see him go.”
Defensive Tackle Antonio Garay
What is your reaction to what happened today?
“It’s a very somber day. No one wanted this year to go the way it did. We were fortunate to have seven wins, but definitely not enough. It’s a sad day all around.”
What was the emotion like when the team gave Norv a standing ovation?
“Everyone has a lot of love and respect for Norv. I think that the fans didn’t always see his compassion and love for the game. He was a very big competitor and he gave us some of the most valuable speeches this year, especially when things were down. That’s exactly the type of person he is. When things got bad, he picked it up and led this team.”
Outside Linebacker Jarret Johnson
What was this morning like?
“It was tough, even though everyone knew it was coming and has been talking about it for about a month now. It really brings to light that how we play on the field affects people’s lives. In our game, people talk about firing like it’s nothing, but you’re talking about a man’s career. You’re talking about a man changing what he’s been doing for the last six or seven years. It really brings home reality and this is not just a game, it’s men’s lives.”
What have you learned from Norv this season?
“I’ve learned a lot from Norv. I’ve learned how to prepare, how to look at an offense differently and how to enjoy my daily grind. You can still work hard without it having to be stressful or overwhelming. He does a really good job of grinding. The schedule up here is really tough, but at the same time it can be fun and you can still enjoy coming to work.”
Does the team feel a little excitement in terms of the changes that are looming?
“Not today, no. There’s nothing exciting about a day like today. After the season that we’ve gone through and with the events today, there’s nothing exciting about that. Looking forward, to me, I’m excited about this front seven. We have a ton of young talent and things that we can build on. When you have young, good defensive linemen and you have guys like Donald Butler or Melvin Ingram, who are going to be here, you have a lot to build on. Those guys are beasts.”
What kind of head coach do you think needs to come in here?
“I don’t know. There are people a lot smarter than me who are going to figure that out. People usually go in opposite direction of the previous coach, but you never know.”
What needs to happen differently next season?
“Just based off of this year, we need to play more consistent. We showed early that we could be a dominant team and we beat the teams that we should have beat. But when it came to tough teams and tough situations, we didn’t handle it very well and we didn’t play very consistent. Going forward, we need to play more consistent. There are going to be changes. Hell, I might not even be here, but with a situation like this, there are no guarantees for anybody. It’s going to be interesting going forward, but this team has a lot of upside and a lot of good talent.”
Do you forget about football during the offseason?
“The offseason is kind of a healthy time. It’s your time to get home, focus on your family, take a couple of weeks off and then get back to work. You can’t be a good teammate unless you’re in good physical shape. I always go on a diet, get my nutrition right and then come back in bigger and better shape than you were the year before. Then you can be a good teammate.”
Outside Linebacker Melvin Ingram
What did you learn from Norv this season?
“I learned a lot about how to be a pro, how to go about things and how to handle yourself.”
What kind of coach do you think that the Chargers need?
“I really don’t know what kind of coach we need because that’s not really my job to have an opinion on that. I really can’t answer that question.”
What did you learn your first year in the NFL?
“I learned a lot. It’s a stepping stone to how to be a pro, how to go about things and how to practice every day at a high level. In the NFL everyone is good, so you have to do the extra work.”
What do you take away from some of the veteran players who may not return next season?
“I’ve taken a lot away from them in that I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to be around those types of players and to be able to follow in their footsteps. I just thank God every day.”
What are your thoughts on being a leader next year?
“I think that it’s great and there’s a lot of excitement. We have a lot of good young players who can do a lot of things, so I just need to step into that role and work hard.”
Safety Corey Lynch
How tough was today for you?
“For me personally, it was really tough. It was emotional and disappointing. You kind of see the whole season unravel in front of your eyes. At the beginning of the season you know what you want to do, this is where I want to be and when you’re not there at the end it kind of hits you on the last day.”
What did you learn from Norv this season?
“I learned how to work hard and I learned what a real leader looks like, what a real head coach is supposed to look like. I have a lot of respect for him, how he handles his business and how he deals with the team. You couldn’t ask for a better head coach.”
Do you allow yourself to feel the uncertainty that comes along with Norv leaving?
“That’s the business. This business is centered around uncertainty. Only one team gets to win the Super Bowl every year, so the rest of the fans, general managers and head coaches are all disappointed. For me and 25 other guys, our contracts are up and a bunch of coaches’ contracts are up, so it’s going to be interesting.”
Does that uncertainty motivate you during the offseason?
“This is nothing new for me in my career. Every offseason you have to work hard and hopefully you put good film or tape together for your next job or wherever you go. Hopefully I got better every game and I’ll just have to wait and see.”
Defensive End Kendall Reyes
What can you say about the uncertainty facing this team?
“Regardless of what happened today, you have to be resilient and that’s the type of group we have in the locker room. That’s what we’re going to do and whatever happens from this day forth, we just have to approach it one day at a time.”
Is it kind of exciting to know that there is going to be change in the future?
“I’m just taking it one day at a time. During this offseason I just have to do everything that I can to become a better player and in the end that’s going to help the team. That’s what my focus is right now.”
What did you learn from Norv?
“Norv is a great guy. I love him to death and I’ve learned a lot from him. I’ll forever remember him and I hope we’ll stay in touch.” Read