Grew Up... in Waverly, a small town in upstate New York. His father was a high school football coach and his mother worked part-time in a hair salon. Nick is the oldest of two brothers, and his childhood was by most measures a happy one – he was the quarterback of the high school football team and dated a beautiful cheerleader. He did, however, endure the rigorous demands of his father. On his father’s orders, Nick grew up on a no-sugar diet and has never had a Coke or eaten an Oreo. When Nick came home late one night after curfew, the doors were locked and he had to sleep outside.
Living... alone in Philadelphia. Nick lives in the Rittenhouse Square area, which is a nice part of town. He rents a place in a short-stay apartment building called the Jefferson that caters mostly to businesspeople who are in town for a few weeks. Nick stays there out of superstition. He rented a room there during his rookie season five years ago, when he unexpectedly made the team, and he fears that if he buys a home or even signs a long-term lease, he will be cut.
Profession... punter for the Philadelphia Sentinels pro football team. He makes $970,000 a year. He’s completed five seasons with the Sentinels and is headed into his sixth. At least, that’s the goal – Nick must now fend off a rookie free agent punter who is competing for his job during a three-day minicamp. Being a punter means Nick is on the fringes of the team, performing one simple specialized task in relative isolation while most teammates work in large groups on complex plays.
Interests... health and fitness. Nick does a thousand squats a week and runs the stairs in the Jefferson to his 17th floor apartment. He keeps a strict diet; even at a fancy steakhouse, he orders salmon and steamed broccoli. His refrigerator is stocked with superfoods. He also likes classic soul music, especially Irma Thomas.
Relationship Status... casually dating a married woman named Jessica for the last three years. That relationship, however, seems to be going stale. Meeting women is not a problem for Nick – he is good-looking, fit and successful. But he has issues with commitment.
Challenge... clearing his teammate’s name. One night, Nick is out with a teammate and his agent when the other two are shot by a drive-by shooter. The teammate dies, and another teammate, a star linebacker, is arrested for the crime. Nick believes this is a false arrest, and he steps forward for a chance to rescue his team’s biggest star and become a hero. To do that, though, he’ll need to find out what really happened.
Personality... a perfectionist who is haunted by failure. His shortcomings as a witness to the crime – he notices a bumper sticker on the shooter’s car, but not the license plate – eat at him. On the lighter side, Nick observes his surroundings with wry humor, and he likes to spend time with people less tightly wound than he is. His best friend is the team owner’s philandering and underachieving son.
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