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Hardwick's Sage Council is a Privilege for All
When the San Diego Chargers broke camp over the weekend, it culminated the end of Nick Hardwick’s 11th training camp.
“Thanks for reminding me!” he joked when it was pointed out.
“We’ve been working hard, that’s for sure,” he said. “Guys have been working their tails off giving all they’ve got, and some days you’ve got more than others, but it’s always a good day when you get to come to work. Everything we do now comes to fruition later in the year. That’s why you’ve got to come out with a good mindset, focus and give your best effort each and every practice because it pays off later.”
Hardwick played the most snaps of any lineman last season and is a vital cog in the Bolts’ high octane attack responsible for calling out pre-snap blocking schemes. He’s started 66 consecutive regular-season games and 135 over his career. Hardwick was named the Chargers 2013 Lineman of the Year by spearheading a unit that allowed the fourth-fewest sacks in the league while paving the way for 12 100-yard games on the ground in the regular season. The 6-4, 305-pounder was also voted the team’s Co-Most Inspirational Player for the second time in his career.
Thus, it’s no surprise that many young players seek out Hardwick’s counsel.
“I’ve learned so much from a guy like Hardwick,” said third-round pick Chris Watt, who has spent time at both guard and center. “He is always willing to help us out and has a lot to teach, so I am always listening to what he has to say.”
So what types of things does Hardwick tell him?
“Just keep working,” Hardwick said. “That’s how we get better, by going at it. If we’ve had a tough day of individual or a tough day of practice, when the days are long and everyone knows it’s going to be tough, that’s part of what it is. But going through it together and understanding you’ll get through tough times together is what makes you better. Camp is a tough time for a variety of reasons. Physically it’s tough and mentally it’s draining. Just to want to put on your pads some days is a task, but just going through that as a group – as a position group, an offense and as a team – that’s what gets you better. Going through the hard times and struggles and seeing how good you can get is what this is all about. And that doesn’t stop just because training camp (ended).”