Gardner Minshew was a football LEGEND long before he took his first NFL snap ... admitting he once smashed his own hand with a hammer to try and extend his college football career.
The Jacksonville Jaguars QB said it all went down in 2016 during his first year at East Carolina University ... where he was the 3rd string QB and planned on redshirting the season.
But, the 2nd string QB was moved to running back and the 1st string QB suffered a concussion halfway through a game in Week 4, so he was forced to go in and play.
The problem ... once Minshew took the field, the redshirt option was out the window -- and Gardner was pissed he was going to blow an entire year of eligibility for 30 minutes of playing time.
And, what did Gardner do next? He realized the only way to get that year of eligibility back was to get a medical redshirt ... which means he needed to prove he suffered an injury that knocked him out for the season.
"So, you know, I get an idea," Minshew told the guys on Barstool Sports' "Pardon My Take" podcast (go to 31:20).
"I go home, I grab a bottle of Jack Daniels and I grab a hammer. And, I go back into my room, I take a pull of the Jack Daniels, I put my hand down on the table and BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! 1,2,3 ... I hit the hell out of my hand dude!"
Another problem ... Minshew says he knew right away he didn't actually break his hand -- so he continued to smash away another 2 times. But, he failed with each attempt!
"I couldn't break my own hand!"
Oh, and get this ... Minshew says the hand he was smashing was his THROWING HAND because he knew he would be pressured to play through the pain if he broke his non-throwing hand.
At the end of the day, Minshew says he gave up with the fake injury attempt and just told the coach he slammed his hand in a car door.
Don't worry, things worked out for him ... he's now the starting QB for the Jaguars and looked pretty solid Thursday night in the teams' 20-7 victory over the Tennessee Titans, throwing 2 TDs in the process.