Catching Up With ... A.J. Hawk

The offseason strength and conditioning program began for many of the team’s younger players on Monday, giving a chance to catch up with a few guys to get their thoughts on the past season, next season, and what they’ve been up to in between. Here’s what LB A.J. Hawk had to say ...


The offseason strength and conditioning program began for many of the team's younger players on Monday, giving a chance to catch up with a few guys to get their thoughts on the past season, next season, and what they've been up to in between.

Linebacker A.J. Hawk followed up a strong rookie campaign with another solid season in 2007. He started all 16 games for the second straight year and finished second on the team behind fellow linebacker Nick Barnett with 129 tackles (81 solo), adding one sack, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble, one interception and four passes defensed.

Here's what Hawk had to say ...

How does it feel to be back?

It's good. I never really left, but I was back and forth between here and Ohio for some different things. Obviously it feels like time has gone quick, but I think I'm ready to start the season. This is one step closer, so I'm excited to be back.

Looking back, can you describe the emotions of losing the NFC Championship?

It was obviously really tough, getting so far and being so close to getting to the Super Bowl, and losing, especially the way we did - such a close game, with so many ups and downs. It was hard. It still felt like we could have won, but they played better than us and beat us. It was a difficult time, but I think we have to figure that out and use everything else that we did the whole season, to win all those games, as momentum and use it to our advantage this year and make sure we keep it going. Because I think everyone around here is ready to get back on the field.

What did you do to help get over it, recover from it?

I don't know if there's one thing you can do, I think it just takes a little time. Take some time to get away from football, and once the season is over and the Super Bowl is done, you have a little more time to get over it and to realize you have to look at the good things that we did. Like everyone says, take the good with the bad. A good season ended so fast, and no one expected it to right then, but we're looking forward to this year.

How did it feel to see the Giants win the Super Bowl?

I don't know. Mixed emotions about that. You can look at it a million different ways I guess. We lost to them, and they won it all. But I don't know. To tell you the truth, I didn't care who won. I have a couple friends on the Patriots, so I was rooting for them, my buddies on the team, but as far as who won, I wasn't swayed one way or the other.

What have you been up to during the offseason?

A couple of my buddies got married, went to their weddings. My brother had a little baby daughter, so I went back and saw her. Saw some other family members and went to Columbus. Just going back and forth everywhere. I went to a Lakers game. My wife got me tickets to a Lakers game as a birthday gift, so we went there in early March. Just doing a lot of things, traveling everywhere it seems like.

What's been the biggest highlight for you since the season ended?

It was good to see my brother's daughter. He was really excited about that. Going to a Lakers game was a lot of fun. They beat the Mavs in overtime. It was a huge game. Kobe scored 52 points. I'd never been to one, so that was a great time there.

If you had to grade yourself on your 2007 season, what grade would you give yourself?

I have no idea. I don't know. Sometimes really bad and sometimes pretty good, I don't know. It's so hard. I try to be consistent. That's the thing I work on more every day, trying to be consistent through each game, week after week. That's the biggest thing I want to do, and I think from my rookie year to my second year, I was definitely more consistent.

{sportsad300}What do you want to focus on during this offseason program?

Everything. You always talk about this time of year getting back to fundamentals, lifting and running. You don't ever stop. I don't take any time off after the season. I'm still lifting and working out. You can't really let yourself go. But I think I just want to be in the best shape I can and come in and use this offseason to help me for next year, get deeper into the defense, know everything that's going on, know what everybody is doing, and just improve. This team, we showed last year that we can play, and we have to keep it going.

What was your personal favorite moment of last season, on or off the field?

It's tough to nail it down to one. I just think winning week after week helps so much. Everyone around here, the city, everyone within the team, winning helps a lot. It helps everything. Going from 8-8, and how we did it - being 4-8 and then winning our last four my rookie year - to coming in and winning consistently my second year, that was my favorite part. It's getting back to what it should be around here, what we're used to, and what everyone in the city is used to, and that's winning week after week.

What are you most looking forward to in 2008?

I'm ready to get back on the field and compete. I just want to get out there and start playing again. I think everyone around here is ready to get back on the field. We have all this offseason stuff, and each day is one step closer to the season. I'm ready to get out there and keep going with what we had. We didn't end the way we would have liked to, but for parts of the season we played the way we should, and I think we need to keep that going.

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