AJ Hawk has been released by the Green Bay Packers in a move that will be tough for a lot of fans to swallow, according to NFL.com.
Hawk was a fan favourite in Wisconsin having spent his entire nine year career with the Packers since being selected way back in the first round of the 2006 draft.
The Packers announced the move today and General Manager Ted Thompson released a statement thanking Hawk for all the years he spent in Green Bay.
“A.J. is a consummate Packer and we are grateful for all that he has given and how he represented the organization over the past nine seasons,” Thompson said.
“He was a durable and consistent contributor to our success, but more importantly, he is a great person and teammate. The Packers are grateful for all that he has done on the field and in the community. We wish A.J., his wife Laura, and the rest of their family all the best.”
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In nine seasons with Green Bay, Hawk appeared in a 142 of a possible 144 regular-season games and ranks number one in franchise history with 1,118 tackles, having surpassed John Anderson in the 2013 regular-season finale.
Hawk won the division title five times in his career. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2010 and was part of the team that won Super Bowl XLV.
Hawk made his own statement after the news of his cutting was released.
I spent nine great years in Green Bay," Hawk said in a team statement. "I had awesome teammates and coaches and a great medical staff and equipment staff. Many of them have become my closest friends. We won a ton of games, as well as a Super Bowl, and I loved everything about playing for one of the greatest franchises in all of sports.
"The fans in Green Bay are incredible. Between playing at Lambeau Field as well as seeing them on the road, they always supported us. I am looking forward to my next opportunity in the NFL, but I'll always cherish my years as a Green Bay Packer."
It will be interesting to see where Hawk lands in free agency.