Chargers extend Hardwick through 2011

Center Nick Hardwick has agreed to a new six-year contract that will run from 2006 through the 2011 season, the team announced today. &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp

"This is another good move for the Chargers," said Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith. "Nick has been a strong contributor to our team and to the offensive line since he came here as a rookie in 2004, but he still hasn't realized all of his potential. We think Nick has a great future ahead of him and we're excited that his future will be spent right here in San Diego."

The 6-4, 295-pound Hardwick has started all 27 games he's played in for the Chargers. He's responsible for calling out the blocking schemes for the offensive line and his consistent play at center is a big reason the Bolts have rushed for 2,000 yards each of the last two seasons.

"It's a huge relief," said Hardwick of the new deal. "It's nice to know that I'm going to be here for a while and I'm looking forward to this team continuing to move in the right direction. We're going the right way and we're only going to keep getting better. It's a big compliment to sign after two years and it means a lot to me. Not that many people get re-signed after two years and obviously it's a good sign that they think a lot of me. It's a great feeling."

Hardwick was a third-round draft choice by the Chargers in 2004 out of Purdue. In high school, he was a standout wrestler and he enrolled at Purdue intent on wrestling for the Boilermakers. When Purdue's football team made it to the Rose Bowl in 2001, he was caught up in the excitement that it generated on the West Lafayette, Indiana campus, so the following fall, Hardwick decided to walk-on to the school's football team. A year after earning a spot as a defensive tackle on the scout team, he became the team's starting center and earned all-conference honors.

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