Nick Hardwick says he'll play in 2012

Updated: February 14, 2012, 10:23 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

San Diego Chargers center Nick Hardwick said Monday that he plans to play in 2012.

The 30-year-old Hardwick, scheduled to be a free agent, raised questions about his future late in the season when he said he was considering retirement. He told the San Diego Union-Tribune that he hopes to re-sign with the Chargers.

"I guess we'll just have to see where that goes," he told the newspaper. "I obviously have a lot of best friends in that building, including on the coaching staff. I'd certainly like (to stay). I hope I'm in their plans. If not, we're ready to go on."

Hardwick, who was a Pro Bowl selection in 2006, said his commitment to playing is "full throttle."

"I just think you have to reassess yourself all the time -- assess how you're progressing, assess where you stand," he told the newspaper. "I'm more excited right now than I've been in a long time to train. Obviously, two weeks off was enough to get the itch."

The Chargers' offensive line might have more continuity next season than what was expected. Besides Hardwick's proclamation that he intends to play next season, the Union-Tribune also reported that Kris Dielman is expected to play next season despite a serious concussion that cut short his 2011 season.

The newspaper has reported, however, that left tackle Marcus McNeill, who was placed on injured reserve (neck) in November, is likely to be cut by the team. Re-signing Jared Gaither, who filled in for McNeill and did not allow a sack, is expected to be on the Chargers' offseason agenda, the newspaper reported.

Information from ESPN.com AFC West blogger Bill Williamson was used in this report.