It's been a busy week for A.J. Hawk, to say the least.
First, he and Laura Quinn got married in a civil ceremony in a downtown Green Bay law office on Monday, which Hawk unsuccessfully tried to keep quiet.
Then he signed his first professional football contract on Saturday morning in time to hit the practice field in the afternoon, the second Packers training camp practice of 2006.
"It's good to get all that stuff in line I think before I come in here, and I can just play football now," Hawk said. "That's what I'm focused on. Now that the whole contract is out of the mix, I can do what I love doing."
Hawk, the Packers' first-round draft pick and the No. 5 pick overall out of Ohio State, nearly was able to practice in the opening workout on Friday night. But the contract, though it had been agreed upon between the team and Hawk's agent during the day Friday, hadn't been finalized and signed.
Hawk, who is slated to start at weak-side linebacker, had to miss the Packers' second post-draft mini-camp and some of the June organized team activities (OTAs) while finishing school. So he didn't want to miss any more practices than he absolutely had to.
"I'm real excited to get out here and practice now," Hawk said. "With Ohio State's rules and being on the quarter system, I had to miss a decent amount of the OTAs. Luckily I was here for most of the installs and got caught up on them, and the good thing is we're going back over them here in camp. I wanted to make sure I got in to camp on time, and be here for almost everything."
General Manager Ted Thompson and the entire Packers' coaching staff have a high opinion of Hawk and are interested to see him get going with the pads on.
"He's got good pedigree," Thompson said. "He's been a good player at a big-time place for a long time. As you go through the draft you try to pick holes in people, and it was difficult to find many holes in him.
"He has the ability to run, he can rush the passer, he can cover, he's a good tackler, he's a pretty savvy player, and I think he's a football guy."
Hawk was the last of the Packers' 12 draft picks to sign, primarily because his draft position was so high that his contract was much more complicated and involved higher dollar figures.
Thompson praised vice president of player finance Andrew Brandt for getting all 12 draft picks into camp with a total of just one missed practice.
"It was difficult because we had 12 picks and a new CBA (collective bargaining agreement)," Thompson said. "A lot of the rules were changed, and it was time consuming. It's good to get them all done."