Despite what some novice (ignorant is more like it) fans “think,” practicing against another team in the preseason is extremely beneficial. I’ll expound upon that in a later article.
After hearing that Nick Hardwick sustained a concussion in the second joint-practice against the Cowboys, I gave zero thought to the fact that Dallas was even involved. Immediately my mind went straight to the early offseason.
Hardwick made it a point to say early on in the offseason that he was considering retirement. He was weighing his post-career options and trying to figure out if returning to the NFL was in the best interest of his family.
I’ve made my opinion clear that he was my favorite free-agent signing (or re-signing) of the offseason. Knowing the close relationship that he has with former All-Pro Kris Dielman, I was truly concerned that he might retire.
To see such a dominant player, Dielman, retire early was sure to have an affect on Hardwick’s decision to return to the game. It has been proven that they are very close friends. I can’t imagine that they didn’t speak about this decision ad nauseum.
Despite the unfortunate, yet understandable, retirement of Dielman, Nick chose to continue his career and was re-signed by our Bolts. Hardwick is the “quarterback” of the offensive line. He is constantly barking out calls and informing all other linemates on who to pick up and where to follow through with the blocking scheme on each and every play.
Hardwick and Rivers have a bond that every QB/Center combo has with the exception that the duo has worked together for eight years now. Rivers has stated emphatically that bringing back his center was paramount in keeping this offense churning towards that one common goal.
Without knowing the severity of the concussion, one can only sit back and hope to hear a diagnosis of day-to-day while hoping a return is scheduled no later than week one of the regular season.
For the sake of his health, and his family, I truly hope that he is on the way to a fast and successful recovery. I’d be remissed if I didn’t add that his importance on this team is at a level that it has never been before this year. Of course, he has always been an integral part of this team, but we need him now more than in years past. The offensive line seems to be the one big question mark leading into the 2012 season.
Only time will tell. The lack of confidence in the backup o-line led to the starting of Charlie Whitehurst in the third preseason game of the offseason against Minnesota. Personally I applaud the decision made by Norv Turner to sit Rivers. Having watched the game three times now, I couldn’t be happier that he made that choice.
Hardwick is a throwback player. I feel that he is in the minority amongst most modern day players in that he could have played in any era and been very successful. Let’s hope that his oldschool style isn’t to the detriment of his health and well-being. Godspeed in your recovery Nick.
Thanks a lot for reading.