Bizarre Gardner Minshew story involves a hammer, a bottle of whiskey and his throwing hand

ROB TORNOE
The Philadelphia Inquirer (TNS)
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Gardner Minshew (10) reacts after an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Following Sunday's win over the lowly New York Jets, it didn't take long for backup Eagles quarterback Gardner Minshew to become a full-blown folk hero in Philadelphia.

The mustache, the Top Gun jacket (worn because it's his parents' favorite movie), the postgame celebrations with fans and his family — it's no surprise the jort-loving quarterback has quickly become the go-to topic on sports radio across the city.

Despite his performance Sunday and the fandom that has followed, Jalen Hurts is expected to start the Eagles' next game against Washington on Dec.19, but prepare for a full-blown quarterback controversy if the young player struggles.

Minshew might not even be playing in the NFL if he hadn't failed to execute a harebrained scheme hatched during college.

In a 2019 interview on the Barstool Sports podcast Pardon My Take, Minshew was asked to tell "the most Gardner Minshew story of all time."

It's quite a doozy.

After transferring to East Carolina University in 2016, Minshew was third on the depth chart, so he planned to redshirt to gain an extra year of eligibility and start at quarterback for three years. That plan was disrupted when he was put into a game due to injury, only to be benched the following week.

So, the only option available was a medical redshirt.

"I go home, I grabbed a bottle of Jack Daniels, and a hammer," Minshew said. "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."

Gruesome? He's not finished.

"I'm sitting there shaking, but I know it's not broken, so I'm like, come on," Minshew continued. "Take another pull, 1, 2, 3 again. Still nothing. I'm just shaking at this point, man, but I knew it wasn't broken. So one more time, another pull, another three hits and that was all I could take. I couldn't break my own hand."

Minshew said his hand was swollen for a few weeks, and when coaches asked him about his bruised throwing hand, he told them he closed it in a car door. But despite the injury, he ended up playing seven games that season, including two starts. Had he broken his hand, he may never have had the chance to transfer to Washington State, where he threw for over 4,700 yards and was ultimately drafted by the Jaguars in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

So how was he able to avoid breaking his hand despite hitting it nine times with a hammer?

"I had to go left-handed with the hammer trying to hit the right hand," Minshew said. "It's a lot harder than you would think."