It was a great day of NFL action for NC State alums and their teams yesterday that included wins to advance records to 2-0 in Buffalo (Mario Williams and Manny Lawson) and Denver (Nate Irving). Last night also saw former Wolfpack defensive end, Willie Young, show some skills on national television.
— statefansnation (@statefansnation) September 15, 2014
But, of course, the marquee match-up for NC State fans happened in San Diego where Philip Rivers’ Chargers hosted the defending Super Champion and the Wolfpack triumvirate of Wilson, Sweezy and Haushka. Rivers had a big day against the NFL’s top defense and didn’t back down from throwing three completions at Richard Sherman.
In addition to all of the general game information, I ran across this story and picture that I thought added a unique dimension to the game.
If you’re wondering about the No. 61 on the back of Philip Rivers’s helmet today—and a surprising number of you are—know that the Chargers QB didn’t grab the wrong helmet; it’s a tribute to Rivers’s center for the last decade, who may never play another game.
Center Nick Hardwick suffered a neck “stinger” during last week’s season opener, and the nerve damage is apparently something he’s dealt with before. On Wednesday, Hardwick was placed on season-ending injured reserve. “We’ve been having some other issues along the way, and we decided it was in everyone’s best interest to shut it down for the year,” Hardwick said.
Hardwick is in the final year of his contract, and considered retirement in the offseason due to health issues, so this might be the end of the road for the 33-year-old. He says he’s not ready to make any decision just yet, but he sounds resigned: “Nerve damage isn’t something you want to start messing with.”
It’s a whole new world for Rivers, who entered the league the same time as Hardwick. “With all the time I’ve had with him,” Rivers said, “what makes it so sad for me is that he may not ever put a helmet on again.”
The comments section of that entry had some interesting information on Hardwick.
Hardwick’s story is great. He walked on as a junior at Purdue the year after Brees lead them to the Rose Bowl. He hadn’t played football since 9th grade. He told the defensive line coaches he played linebacker and told the linebacker coaches he played defensive line to cover for the fact he knew little about football. Someone noticed he was a pretty good blocker on the scout team, and they asked him to gain 60 lbs over summer. He says he ate 3 lbs of hamburger every night before bed. He started a full season at guard, then moved to center for the last year he was eligible.
He was the first Purdue player taken in his draft year too. Good luck Nick, you are one of the greats.