Gardner Minshew has been captivating the NFL world with his on the field and the stories around the league’s current version of Paul Bunyan off the gridiron. Here’s a story with Minshew that seems impossible to believe. Minshew’s would not have happened if his diabolical plan worked out three years ago. The Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback told the Pardon My Take podcast he tried to intentionally break his right hand with a hammer in 2016 to gain a medical redshirt year, which would give him another year of eligibility.
Minshew couldn’t complete the master plan, but not for lack of trying.
“Here’s a story, the only group of people I’ve ever told is the Washington State football team before this last year and it was just about, ‘What would you do to play more football?'” Minshew told the Pardon My Take podcast. “I went (to ECU) from junior college and the situation was I had two seniors above me, so I was hoping to go in there, redshirt and then be able to play three. It was an awesome setup. We get into about Game 4 and we moved our backup to running back and our starter got knocked out with a concussion. So shoot, I’m standing there and I go in and play about a half.
“Then we go in for the next weekend and the starter’s going to be back. So I’m like, ‘Dang man, I just played a half and really wasted a year on playing a half of ball.’ 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 was to get a medical redshirt. But if I played in this next game, then that would be off the table. So I get an idea. I go home, I grabbed a bottle of Jack Daniels, and 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. I’m sitting there shaking, but I know it’s not broken, and I did it again. Still nothing at this point and knew it wasn’t broken. So another time, another pull, another three hits and that was all I could take. I couldn’t break my own hand.”
Minshew played through with a bruised throwing hand, telling the East Carolina coaching staff an incredible fib on how the injury occurred.
“I just had a swollen hand for a few weeks. I told the coaches I closed it in a car door,” Minshew said.
Minshew’s college career certainly had its travels. Originally committed to Troy in December of 2014, Minshew lasted a semester there before transferring to Northwest Mississippi Community College for the 2015 season and then landing at East Carolina in 2016. Minshew spent the next two seasons with the Pirates, throwing for 3,487 yards with 24 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 17 games.
Under the NCAA’s graduate transfer rules, Minshew enrolled at Washington State in 2018, where he finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting, completing 70.7 percent of his passes for 4,779 yards, 38 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. The Jaguars selected him in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
If Minshew was able to break his hand, who knows how his career would have panned out to this point. Thankfully, he couldn’t aim properly with a hammer.