(Mike Ehrmann / GETTY IMAGES)

When Ben Hartsock, like Shockey a tight end on the Carolina Panthers team, choked on a piece of pork tenderloin in the team’s lunch room Monday, Shockey smacked it out of him. (Yes, it’s extraordinarily tempting to point out that Shockey has at times been the one doing the choking, but this is a serious story and he’s the hero. We’ll get him next time.)

“He said to me a little while ago, ‘I really hope this doesn’t get out, but if it does it’s going to be a funny story,’ ” Mike McCartney, Hartsock’s agent, told the National Football Post.

Hartsock at first sought to dislodge the tenderloin by drinking water. When that didn’t work, it became apparent to those around him that he couldn’t breathe.

“He started to go to the bathroom and I don’t know if he collapsed, but he couldn’t breathe,” McCartney said. “Some new guy came and tried to give him the Heimlich [maneuver]. It didn’t work. Then Shockey hit him in the back pretty hard and out came the meat. The Panthers told me it was really scary.

“Ben told me Shockey came over and gave me the Heimlich maneuver and saved my life. He was in good spirits and he’s real thankful for Shockey.”