Centers don’t get a ton of attention around the NFL, but their importance to team success is relatively big. They act as the quarterback of the offensive line, call out blocking assignments and need to have a strong relationship with the men they’re snapping the ball to.
None of this is more magnified in San Diego where Nick Hardwick has been snapping footballs to Philip Rivers since the quarterback took over as the team’s starter in 2006. That’s 109 games together over the past eight-plus seasons.
Hardwick left San Diego’s opening week loss to the Arizona Cardinals with a neck injury and will miss the remainder of the season.
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) September 10, 2014
The Pro Bowl center had this to say about the injury (via Chargers.com).
It’s hard and it’s still setting in. I have a touch of shock I guess and I don’t really know how I feel right now. You’re programmed one way and through everything you’ve done you’ve always continued to push forward and push through to find ways to get on the field. Unfortunately for this season it’s not going to happen anymore.
Veteran Rich Ohrnberger replaced Hardwick in the lineup on Monday and will start in his stead for the remainder of the season. This is a huge blow for a Chargers team that views the center as a leader in the locker room and on the field.
Sometimes the biggest injuries are those you don’t read about as breaking news on a never-ending loop. This is one of those injuries. And the Chargers will be impacted big time by the loss of Hardwick for the season.