Hawk is a happy camper

A.J. Hawk, taken No. 5 in the first round of the recent NFL draft, is expected to command the most lucrative rookie contract in Green Bay Packers history. Still, it was important for the linebacker to finish his undergraduate degree in criminology at Ohio State University before joining the Packers today for the first time since the post-draft mini-camp.

For Hawk, it is a relief to have school behind him – for good.

"I know some guys … the season's over and they go back in the winter and take a class for the winter quarter, or spring," said Hawk. "I didn't want to do that. I wanted to get up here and be here for good. I don't plan on going home much. I came up here to play football, and that's what I get to do now. I didn't want to worry about school or anything. I didn't want to go back and have to juggle, go back and forth."

Hawk had one class to complete this semester in order to earn his degree. In between studying statistics for his class, he studied DVD's that Packers coaches mailed to him of the Organized Team Activity practices and the May 19-21 mini-camp. He also worked out with linebacker Bobby Carpenter, also taken in the first round by Dallas (18th overall).

Time will tell whether Hawk will ever become a detective or police officer, but for now he likely will receive a contract similar or better than the five-year, $19.1 million deal, including a $2.9 million signing bonus, given to running back Cadillac Williams by Tampa Bay as the fifth pick last year.

"Obviously, I wanted to be here, but I knew going into Ohio State that the rules wouldn't allow me to be here and I couldn't change anything," Hawk said. "I just wanted to make sure that I got done with school and be here for good now."

Hawk arrived in Green Bay late Friday night. He spent the weekend catching up to the team and preparing for today's practice at Clarke Hinkle Field. He will attend the remaining six practices and stay in Green Bay, where he purchased a home during draft weekend.

He admitted that his mind wasn't always on schoolwork that last few weeks in Columbus.

"I kept thinking that once I'm done, I'm done," Hawk said. "I can just play football."

Hawk has his work cut out for him making plays for the Packers, but there is no place he's rather be at this point.

"It's a great thing," Hawk said. "It's going to be nice from now on. I can play football. It's all football."


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