The Sports XchangePosted with permission from The Sports Xchange
A.J. Hawk is going out the same way he came in: a Packer.
The veteran linebacker is calling it a career after 11 NFL seasons, and will retire a member of the Green Bay Packers after spending his first nine seasons with the franchise, the team announced Tuesday.
Hawk, drafted No. 5 overall by the Packers in 2006, is Green Bay's all-time leader in tackles (1,118) and led the team in tackles five different seasons, tied with linebacker Nick Barnett for most in club history.
"He was a terrific teammate and a true professional during his career, and we were lucky to have him. A.J. will always be a Packer," Green Bay executive vice president and general manager Ted Thompson said in a statement.
"We wish the best to him and the entire Hawk family, and thank them for all that they gave to the team and the city of Green Bay."
Hawk was released by the Atlanta Falcons in October after playing one game with the team. He played for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2015, totaling 24 tackles and one sack in 15 games.
He was a member of the Packers' Super Bowl XLV championship team in 2011.
"His leadership and toughness were instrumental in all of our success, and we thank him for all that he did for the organization and the community," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said in a statement.
At Ohio State, Hawk was a two-time unanimous All-American in 2004 and 2005 and won the Lombardi Award and Jack Lambert Trophy in 2005.