Shawshank meets the Chargers


Aug 15, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; San Diego Chargers center Nick Hardwick (61) watches the game during the third quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

I’m back everybody! Nick Hardwick is excited that football season is here! After a long offseason, it’s finally time to get writing about football again. For this article, I’m going to borrow a page from one of my favorite writers: Bill Simmons. The Sportsguy seamlessly blends sports with pop culture and if you have read my articles in the past, you can see his influence.

So as we get ready for the 2013 Chargers season, I’m using some quotes from one of my favorite movies, The Shawshank Redemption, and applying them to the Chargers.

Red: [narrating] “I wish I could tell you that Andy fought the good fight, and the Sisters let him be. I wish I could tell you that – but prison is no fairy-tale world. He never said who did it, but we all knew. Things went on like that for awhile – prison life consists of routine, and then more routine. Every so often, Andy would show up with fresh bruises. The Sisters kept at him – sometimes he was able to fight ’em off, sometimes not. And that’s how it went for Andy – that was his routine.”

One of the most iconic quotes from the movie goes to our fearless leader – Philip Rivers. Much like prison, the football field is no fairy-tale world and Rivers spent much of the last 2 seasons trying to “fight the good fight.” The Sisters in this case, being opposing defenses. Despite a deteriorating OL and management who refused to keep any offensive weapons around him, Rivers tried to put the team on his back. Unfortunately, Rivers ended up spending most of the last 2 seasons on his back instead, getting sacked an AFC worst 79 times. Getting sacked became “his routine.” Rivers has made it through the last 2 seasons however, much like Andy did…and probably with dreams of escaping to Zihuatanejo.

Red: There’s not a day goes by I don’t feel regret. Not because I’m in here, or because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then: a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try and talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are. But I can’t. That kid’s long gone and this old man is all that’s left. I got to live with that. Rehabilitated? It’s just a bullshit word. So you go on and stamp your form, sonny, and stop wasting my time. Because to tell you the truth, I don’t give a shit.

Also going to Philip Rivers. A great scene where Red stands up to the system. Just imagine Rivers in that chair instead of Red, as Spanos asks him if he still backs Norv as the HC. Rivers was loyal to a fault, and I bet he looks back now to when he supported Norv “I look back on the way I was then: a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try and talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are. I can’t. That kid’s long gone and this old man is all that’s left.”

Brooks: [to Andy] Son, six wardens have been through here in my tenure, and I’ve learned one immutable, universal truth: Not one of them born whose asshole wouldn’t pucker up tighter than a snare drum when you ask them for funds.

This has to go to AJ Smith, (in memorium), to our GM whose personal issues with players let many of them walk instead of paying them fair market value.

Red: [narrating] I must admit I didn’t think much of Andy first time I laid eyes on him; looked like a stiff breeze would blow him over. That was my first impression of the man.

To Malcolm Floyd. The talented yet oft-injured WR stands 6’4 and weighs 65lbs. When looking at him, he doesn’t exactly instill fear in defenders hearts. However, he’s had over 800 yards receiving each of the last 2 seasons with 10 total TD’s. Like Red judging Andy…sometimes first impressions are wrong.

Captain Hadley: What is your malfunction, you fat barrel of monkey spunk?

To Max Starks. I don’t think this needs an explanation.

Red: Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.

To all Ryan Mathews believers (me included). After LT left, we all knew Mathews had impossible shoes to fill. Yet we put that belief into Mathews; he was fast, could break tackles and was coming off a season at Fresno State where we rushed for over 1,800 years and had 19 touchdowns. He’s been injured too much, had fumbles issues and was in Norv’s doghouse even when we had no other options at RB. He has looked very impressive this preseason, and many Chargers fans are again getting their hopes up that he can finally live up to his potential.

Warden Samuel Norton: [after Andy escapes] I want him found. Not tomorrow, not after breakfast – *now*.

To Tom Telesco. In the search for a LT.

Andy Dufresne: Get busy living, or get busy dying.

To Eric Weddle. He’s played in 48 of the last 48 games. considered one of the top two Safety’s in the NFL. We have had an issue with our secondary for quite some time and this year is no different. We are very thin in depth, and our starters are injury-prone and lack experience. But with Weddle back there…I have hope that he can make a difference. That our secondary may not be so bad. Weddle is everything you can hope for in a Safety, and I’m glad he’s a Charger. Weddle seems to have an attitude towards playing and he never takes a play off. He is busy living.

This last one doesn’t have to do with our current team, but with one of our all-time greats.

Red: [narrating] Andy Dufresne – who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side.

To LaDainian Tomlinson. Who will be featured in “A Football Life” on NFL Network on Tuesday. The MVP and all-time great dealt with a myriad of issues with the organization and how it treated him. Yet, in the end, came back to retire the right way….as a Charger.

I hope you enjoyed this, I had a lot of fun with it.

As always, #Free24

Dan Locke

@DLocke619 on Twitter