Atlanta Falcons: Justin Hardy Pays Homage to Late Father with Number Switch
Atlanta Falcons Wide Receiver Justin Hardy announced his number change yesterday, and the special meaning behind it
A player’s numbers on a stat sheet define their level of play; but sometimes, the number on their jersey defines their reason for playing. Such is the case for Falcons wide receiver Justin Hardy, who announced that he would be changing his number in the upcoming season from 16 to 14 in honor of his late father, who passed away four years ago.
"“He’s the reason that I’m here,” Hardy told ESPN’s Vaughn McClure. “He taught me everything that I know. Coming up, he just wanted me to be the best that I could be. He didn’t want to burn me out with one [sport]. He wanted me to be an all-around guy. That was one of the things he taught me: Don’t just have your mind set on one thing.”"
Sam Hardy died unexpectedly in 2013, suffering a heart attack at his home. In his playing days, he wore No. 14 on his jersey, and now his son will as well.
Motivators are something that do not show up in game logs or scouting reports. There’s no tangible metric to pinpoint or measure what drives a player to go out, give it their all, and leave everything on the field. Motivation and drive are uniquely personal facets to every NFL player’s game; and for Justin Hardy, his father’s memory is one of his.
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He will wear that motivation on his back this upcoming season, continuing to play for something more than a paycheck.