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Q&A: Nick Hardwick

Posted Aug 18, 2011

The Pro Bowl center hasn’t flown since the day he earned his pilot license and has an orangutan tattoo of his wife. As if you needed any more reason to read.

SAN DIEGO – Voted last season’s co-most inspirational player, Hardwick did not miss a start after an ankle injury limited him to three games in 2009.

A member of the Chargers’ 50th Anniversary All-Time Team, Hardwick calls out blocking signals for the entire offensive line.

The Chargers have rushed for at least 1,700 yards each season that Hardwick has started at least 12 games, including a team-record 2,578 in ’06.

San Diego’s union representative has an eclectic personality and enjoys reading, drawing and extreme sports. He earned a pilot’s license before he turned 18 and also played on a traveling hockey team as a youth with Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman John-Michael Liles.

Kahsay Moges; San Diego

When you are at the line of scrimmage, you begin to point out blocking assignments. Are all of the directions that you point to legitimate orders to your offense or are there any bluffs?

Blocking assignments for the most part are all legitimate. There’s not really a ton of time from the offensive line’s point of view to bluff, nor is there a need to, because all of our language is coded.

Robert McDermott; Spring Valley Lake, Calif.

With the proliferation of 3-4 defenses in the NFL, who is the toughest nose tackle you have faced?

I face him every day: Antonio Garay. He’s powerful, has a non-stop motor and is mentally tough. 

Shawn Dennis, Santee, Calif. 

In your career you have been under center for two Pro Bowl quarterbacks, Philip Rivers and Drew Brees. What’s the difference between the two of them or what makes them great in their own way?

They both have their differences. We’re currently running a different offense than when Drew was here. They both prepare like animals and are the two hardest-working guys in the building. They show up to work with an unmatched focus every day.

Adam Beaton; Wasilla, Alaska

What is the inspiration behind all of your tattoos and which is your most memorable one?

There’s not really a ton of inspiration behind all of my tattoos. I have one tattoo of my wife. It’s an orangutan. It’s just a little secret thing we have with each other; a code word, or term of endearment we’ll call it. The other ones are just abstract art and memorable in their own ways. They mark moments in time that I can remember what was going through my head and where I was, both mentally and physically.

Nate Shea; San Diego

You earned your pilot’s license before you turned 18. What made you want to get it and how often do you fly?

I actually have never flown since they day I earned my pilot license. To be able to earn it took a lot of training but I wanted to get it so I could fly in the Marine Corps. The Marines gave me a physical and realized that I was color blind and that basically shut down that operation. I’d like to get back up there at some point but would probably have to lose some size.

Elijah Horta; San Marcos, Calif.

You played on a youth traveling hockey team. If you weren’t drafted into the NFL do you think you would have made it in the NHL or what would you be doing with your career?

I played hockey when I was a little kid so who knows what would have come of that. I’d hope to be a manager somewhere. I was a business management major so I would hope to be putting that to use. Who knows? Luckily I’m here.

Robert Kuta; Half Moon Bay, Calif.

What does Phillip Rivers do for the offensive linemen after a game without a sack?

We don’t do anything special. He takes care of us every season and we don’t have per game things. He’s a great quarterback to play for. I think we can all say that we wouldn’t want to play for another quarterback.

Gabby Reyes; Brawley, Calif.

What would you be doing if the NFL Lockout was still taking place?

I’d still be training and taking big mid-day naps.

Jay Tanjuan; Athens, Ga.

Since you have an accomplished wrestling background and you go up against another former wrestler in Antonio Garay every day in practice, who do you think is the best wrestler on the team?

Antonio is the best wrestler on the team for sure. He has a lot of extra training and I think he had a fourth-place NCAA finish. So that will tell you how good he is. I’d still give him a go though.

Curtis Van Atta; Santee, Calif.

What, if any, pregame ritual or superstitions do you have?

I don’t have any pregame rituals. I throw up a lot before games because it kind of helps me get ready. I don’t really do the superstition thing. I don’t think if you miss part of your routine you’ll be in trouble. I try and keep everything on a timeline. That’s about it.

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