A.J. Hawk: Aaron Rodgers says the linebacker is playing hurt


A.J. Hawk has been called out lately for his low number of snaps over the past couple of weeks, something that quarterback Aaron Rodgers has said is because Hawk is suffering through injuries.

In a report published a day ago by Jason Wilde on ESPN Wisconsin, Rodgers is quoted as saying this:

"“A.J. and I are good friends and we’ve spent a lot of time together, sitting next to each other in meetings for the last nine years. Obviously, a lot of games together, a lot of wins, a lot of good times, a lot of dinners that his wife has invited me over to — she’s a great cook. I’ve always really enjoyed his friendship and his leadership on our team and just his attitude toward football.“He’s been dealing with [a] body that hasn’t been responding I think as well as he wanted it to at times this year.”"

A.J. Hawk. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

That’s not surprising, because Hawk has spent the past nine years manning the middle of the Packers defense. He’s taken a lot of punishment during that time and it’s not surprising that he is probably nursing injury after injury.

What is surprising to me is that Hawk has not once landed on the injury report for the Packers, which tells me he’s pretty quiet about his injuries and will do just about anything to get on and stay on the field.

Hawk, in my mind, has been the consummate teammate and player for the Green Bay Packers. He has missed a total of two games in his entire career since being the fifth overall draft pick of the first round by the Packers in 2006, a year after Rodgers was drafted.

Not only does he crave being on the field at all costs, but he even took a huge pay cut two seasons ago to stay with Green Bay.

The fact that he’s not been on the field very much the past two weeks may be tied to his injury situation as described by Rodgers, but there are those – myself included – who have come out saying that Hawk’s days in Green Bay are limited; that the younger players, such as Sam Barrington, are taking the reins.

That’s not the case, Rodgers seemed to be intimating in his interview.

"“He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve ever played with. He’s hands-down one of the greatest warriors – football warriors – that I’ve played with. I mean, the guy has dealt with a ton of injuries over his time and played through them and played really well through them. He’s been a great Packer for so many years and just embodies what it means to be a Packer.“[He’s] a great teammate, a great player and really, really great in the community with the things that he supports and his foundation, and just the way that he conducts himself makes all Packer fans proud. He’s been a great teammate in the locker room. Nothing’s changed with him. He’s just continuing to be ready and play whatever role he’s asked to play.”"

I would love nothing better than to see Hawk regain his status – and health – so that he can continue to help this ninety-fourth edition of the Green Bay Packers win a Super Bowl. He’s already a Super Bowl champion and to see he get another ring could place him in the upper echelons of favorites among Packers fans.

If any Packer deserves something like that, it would be A.J. Hawk.

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