Hawley (pictured) tore the ACL in his right knee during a Week 4 loss to Minnesota. A few days later, he was placed on injured reserve and done for the season.
Because of the injury, Hawley said he’ll have a "chip on my shoulder."
"I’ll have something to prove," he said during Atlanta’s offseason media availability on Thursday. "I was handed the starting spot last year. I know there are [still] a lot of question marks. I want to prove I belong there."
Hawley began running a month ago and is participating on a limited basis in offseason workouts as the new coaching staff puts in a new scheme that requires linemen to run sideline to sideline until the play is over.
He said there will be no contact for him until training camp.
Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is changing Atlanta’s blocking scheme from power to zone-blocking.
"I’ve run in zone schemes before, but nothing like this," Hawley said.
But Hawley likes the emphasis Shanahan is putting on the running game, which has struggled the past couple of seasons. He said opponents have been able to tee off on the pass because they "didn’t have to worry about the run."