Throughout a rigorous 16-game NFL season, players form a brotherhood—a pact. Pranks are pulled and scuffles are had, but former San Diego Chargers offensive lineman Nick Hardwick had his own way of “breaking the ice,” according to The Players' Tribune.
Hardwick, and fellow former Charger Shawne Merriman—who were teammates for five seasons—recounted their versions of a story in which Hardwick was found squatting in the team weight room naked.
Merriman, a former three-time Pro Bowl linebacker during his tenure with the Chargers, just wrapped up a meeting with defensive coaches and was looking to hit the gym. Nevertheless, he was dumbfounded to find the 6’4”, 300-pound Hardwick squatting naked.
“He’s literally butt-ass naked, wearing nothing but tennis shoes and his tattoos, doing squats,” recalls Merriman. “I don’t even know how to react. I want to say something. I mean, I have so many questions. But what do you say to someone who’s squatting butt-naked? Instead, I freakin’ lose it. I’m literally on all fours laughing, crying so hard I can barely stand up.”
According to Hardwick, a one-time Pro Bowler in his own right, this is nothing out of the ordinary. He finds going commando to be “invigorating.”
“I would show up to a special teams meeting uninvited. I’d walk in butt naked, and go up and give the special teams coordinator a hug,” remembers Hardwick, adding. “Don’t ask me why, but it was actually something I’d always wanted to do. And to be honest, squatting naked was kinda thrilling.”
Injuries took a toll on Hardwick in 2014, which in turn spurred him to change his diet. The 33-year-old announced his retirement in February, while putting his new 208-pound frame on display.