GREEN BAY – Even though the Green Bay Packers’ financial situation meant they would have asked him for a pay cut regardless of quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ impending megabucks extension, inside linebacker A.J. Hawk got a good laugh out of the suggestion Thursday that Rodgers owes his friend a thank-you.
Appearing on NFL AM on the NFL Network, Hawk, who took a pay cut of $7.25 million over the final three years of his deal, laughed at the suggestion that the money was going to his pal Rodgers. Hawk and Rodgers talk relatively often during the offseason.
”Let’s be honest, all of us minions have nothing that we can offer Aaron that would even come close to anything that he would get. He deserves every dime he’s going to get,” Hawk said. “He’s going to get a billion dollars probably, so I’m OK with anything (the Packers) want to give him because he’s one of the best in the world and he deserves everything.”
Hawk, who’ll make $840,000 in base salary this season after getting a $2.21 million guaranteed roster bonus as part of the deal, said the Packers defense must find a way to rebound after its embarrassing performance against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Divisional Playoffs. Green Bay surrendered 579 yards in a 45-31 loss at Candlestick Park.
“A loss like that, especially when an offense kind of has their way with you, it’s tough to come back from. But we’ll be back, we’ll be ready,” said Hawk, who’ll report with most of his teammates on Monday for the offseason program. “We’re starting here with our offseason stuff this coming week. Coach Dom Capers has a lot of good things in store for us and there’s nothing you can do but try to get up and start fighting. To lose and end your season like we did, you feel like you let everyone in Green Bay down; we let our offense down for sure with how we played as a defense. We need to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
Hawk said one boost should come from fellow inside linebacker Desmond Bishop, who suffered a ruptured hamstring tendon in the preseason opener and missed the entire 2012 season.
“Desmond is such a good athlete and he’s so dynamic, it brings so many different things to the table,” Hawk said. “He’s not only an emotional leader on our team and a great player, but just having his presence out there will be great. He can do so many things well; he rushes the pass really well, he’s great in man coverage and he likes to be physical, which I have a lot of respect for that. We’re definitely looking forward to having him back on the field.”
Meanwhile, Hawk likened middle linebacker Brian Urlacher’s departure from the Chicago Bears to the way the Packers and quarterback Brett Favre parted on bad terms.
“I’m going into my eighth year so I’ve seen a lot of things that you never thought you would see,” said Hawk, who said it will be “weird” to play the Bears without Urlacher. “I came in and played two years with Brett Favre, and with his whole situation that happened, you would never think that things would end like that. I’m sure it was a little bit of a shock for everyone around the league when they heard Urlacher wasn’t coming back (to the Bears). It’s tough to stay with it especially the older you get.
“He did so much for the rivalry [between the Packers and Bears] and he’s done so much for the Bears that I have respect for any guy that plays in the league, let alone a guy that has made an impact like him.”
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