Gardner Minshew proved early on in his career that he was extremely dedicated to football — and would go to great lengths to keep playing.
During an appearance on an episode of Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My French” podcast, the Jacksonville Jaguars rookie quarterback, 23, shared that he tried to break his own throwing hand in order to be eligible to play college ball for another year.
After transferring to East Carolina University from junior college in 2016, Minshew explained how there were already two senior quarterbacks on the team and he initially hoped to qualify for a redshirt — an NCAA exception that allows players who only participate in a small number of games another season of competitive play.
However, after one of those senior quarterbacks was injured, and another moved to a different position, Minshew found himself frequently on the field — until the injured athlete returned.
“I was pretty pissed so I started looking around at what I could do and what my options were. The only thing I could do would be to get a medical redshirt,” he said. “So I get an idea. I go home, I grabbed a bottle of Jack Daniels, and I grab a hammer. And I go back in my room, I take a pull of Jack Daniels and put my hand down on the table and boom, boom, boom! One, two, three, and hit the hell out of my hand, dude!”
However, despite attempting the whole process a couple more times, Minshew said he “couldn’t break my own hand.”
Instead for the next few weeks, Minshew played with a “swollen-ass hand,” telling his coaches that he “closed it in a car door.”
Minshew went on to share that while he had initially contemplated breaking his left hand, “I was like, ‘I can play through that.’ ”
Although things may not have worked out according to plan for Minshew back then, his career is certainly on the rise these days.
After continuing to play at ECU in 2017, Minshew transferred to Washington State as a graduate student the following year and continued to play.
From there, the athlete was drafted by the Jaguars in the 2019 NFL Draft in the sixth round — and became the team’s go-to quarterback after stepping in for starter Nick Foles, who broke his clavicle in the team’s opening game earlier this month.
The team won their first game of the season on Thursday, beating the Tennessee Titans 20-7. During the game, he also set a franchise record, as the first rookie pass for at least 600 yards through three weeks of football, according to CBS Sports.
Making his debut even more impressive, so far, Minshew has completed 73.9 percent of all his passes, made five touchdowns and one interception, according to the Los Angeles Times.