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Nick Hardwick to be sideline reporter

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Blue Bolt, Jul 9, 2015.

  1. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Oct 28, 2009
    Nick Hardwick back on Chargers sideline
    Chargers center Nick Hardwick announced his retirement after 11 seasons playing in the NFL. — K.C. Alfred / UT San Diego

    For Nick Hardwick, this was perfect.

    The Chargers center retired in February after 11 NFL seasons, his neck no longer fit to withstand constant contact. He knew he'd miss the sideline. He'd miss the road trips, those long flights home after a win. He'd miss being part of the team.

    He gets it all back now.

    Hardwick searched for a niche in retirement and found it. The former Pro Bowler will travel with the Chargers a 12th consecutive season, serving as a radio sideline reporter on XTRA 1360 Fox Sports San Diego. His addition was one of two iHeartMedia finalized Thursday, also adding retired wide receiver Curtis Conway to replace long-time color analyst Hank Bauer beside returning play-by-play man Josh Lewin.

    Hardwick had a fine career.

    In franchise history, arguably no center had one better.

    He arrived in 2004 and became regarded for his leadership, energy and consistency over 136 starts. Upon retirement, he dabbled to identify what came next. He spoke on the radio. He wrote. He made community appearances, part of the effort to build a local stadium that'd keep the Chargers from relocating to Los Angeles.

    This new role fits him well.

    "Some of the greatest times were traveling on the road with the team," Hardwick said. "Being around the energy after a big win or going to a big game, those were the memories that last forever. To me, to be able to still be on the sideline, with all the energy around the stadium, hear the guys and their communication, it's powerful. I'm so thankful for this opportunity. ... I plan to make the most of it. We've got a really cool broadcast team, which I'm so excited about."

    Lewin is the fixture.

    The upcoming season will be his 11th as the Chargers' play-by-play voice. Conway joins him, filling a seat Bauer had occupied for the duration of Lewin's tenure. Bauer was in the booth since 1998 before iHeartMedia notified him this spring that his contract would not be renewed.

    Conway played 12 NFL seasons, the first seven of which for the Bears before a 2000 to 2002 stint with the Chargers.

    The Los Angeles native began work as a color analyst in 2009 with Compass Media Networks. Along with his new role, iHeartMedia said that he'll continue working as a studio analyst for the NFL Network's "Path to the Draft" and co-host of its "Total Access" program. Conway is married to Laila Ali, a champion boxer and daughter of Muhammad Ali.

    Mike Costa will remain a sideline reporter for 2015 home games, standing across the field from Hardwick. He'll also see an expanded pre-game broadcast role, an iHeartMedia official said.

    “We’re excited to welcome Curtis and Nick to our radio team,” said A.G. Spanos, Chargers president of business operations. “Together with Josh, they will bring a strong mix of playing experience and broadcast experience as well as a new energy to the broadcast. I’m really looking forward to hearing them call a great season for the team and our fans.”

    Hardwick was a walk-on at Purdue.

    On Thursday, he recalled attending football games as a freshman, watching from 60 rows up, wanting a better seat. Before he made the team and elevated his goals, Hardwick said his initial hope was to stand on the sideline.

    That is his post-NFL career job now.

    "I think of the games we get to call this year. It's going to be a ton of fun," Hardwick said. "We've got Pittsburgh. We've got Chicago coming to town. ... My first season calling games on the sideline, and I get to go to Green Bay? There's no better place to watch a football game than that. The beauty of it is I don't have to take the pounding to get to stand on the sideline anymore, which is what I always wanted initially.

    "I wanted a better seat to watch a great game from, and that's what I get to do. I get to translate my knowledge and my energy to the fans who are listening. I hope we can build our base. Maybe people will turn down the TV volume and turn up the radio broadcast because we're going to have a lot to offer."

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

    Jul 11, 2006
    Nick will be an asset on the sidelines and it wont all be reporting. You know damn good and well he'll be throwing his .02 in when given the opportunity.

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