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No choking on Shockey's watch

Ben Hartsock knows he's going to hear about it for a while.

When he caught a pass at Panthers' practice, offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski joked about how Hartsock swallowed the ball. Teammates chided the offseason acquisition not to choke when passes come his way.

It was easy for Hartsock to laugh about it Tuesday, but it wasn't so funny when he found himself choking at lunch in the team cafeteria on Monday.

Thanks to fellow tight end Jeremy Shockey, who administered the Heimlich maneuver on Hartsock, a potentially devastating situation was averted, and Hartsock was able to tell his tale with a smile on his face.

"I was enjoying my pork tenderloin, which was delicious," Hartsock said after practice Tuesday. "I didn't have too big a piece, but had a piece big enough to fit in my throat.

"I thought I was going to be able to walk off. Took a little sip of water and realized that was the wrong thing to do. I started making my way to the bathroom, thinking maybe I was going to have to purge it. That didn't work either.

"I waved in for help. One of my teammates (Kentwan Balmer) gave me the Heimlich for a little while unsuccessfully and we had to call in the reliever and that was Jeremy Shockey. Don't let the tattoos fool you. He's a good Samaritan. He knows how to administer the Heimlich."

Shockey waved off reporters Tuesday when asked about the incident.

Hartsock, meanwhile, said he promised naming rights to his next child to Shockey.

As he gathered to tell reporters how it all happened, Hartsock heard a steady stream of comments from teammates as they jogged past.

"Spirited fun," Hartsock called it.

He said he had no broken ribs from Shockey's maneuver, but admitted his ego may have taken a hit. Still, he was grateful.

"It all happened so fast, I don't know how many (attempts) it took, but it seemed like it was pretty quick," Hartsock said. "The best part is Shock just kind of nonchalantly walked back and continued eating the rest of his lunch as if he'd done it a hundred times before. I don't know if he's first aid trained or what, but he got the job done.

"It's easy to laugh about now, but I could tell by the concern of my teammates afterward that it was a dicey situation. You lay down last night after all that and you realize anybody is susceptible for something like this to happen. I said an extra prayer at night."

It's the kind of thing that can change a man, even a 6-foot, 4-inch, 270-pound, eight-year NFL veteran. By Monday evening, Hartsock said he had already made changes.

"All liquid diet and Jeremy Shockey on speed dial," he said.

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