GREEN BAY, Wis. -- For a guy who was once cut the day before his $10 million salary would have been guaranteed, A.J. Hawk didn’t really have much trouble accepting another pay cut this offseason to remain with the Green Bay Packers.
Discussing the move for the first time on Friday, Hawk explained why he didn’t fight a nearly $2 million reduction in pay for 2013 and a total of $7.25 million less over the remaining three years of what was originally a five-year, $33.75 million contract. That’s the deal he signed in 2011 to come back to the Packers less than 24 hours after they released him in order to bring him back under a restructured contract.
“If you look around, too, guys that don’t accept (pay cuts), it usually doesn’t go well for you,” Hawk said in his first extended comments about his contract since it was redone in March.
Hawk, 29, is entering his eighth NFL season and though the former fifth overall pick in the draft hasn’t blossomed into a superstar, he has been ultra-dependable. He has missed only two of a possible 112 career regular-season games.
“I guess I never really gave it much thought on not being back,” said Hawk, who is expected to start at one of the two inside linebacker positions. “All I knew in my mind was coming off of last year that I really felt good, felt good about where I was going, and I would do whatever I can to stay here, basically.”
Hawk, who is scheduled to make $3.6 million this season (down from $5.45 million), said the Packers were respectful when they approached him and his agent, Mike McCartney, about the pay cut. Hawk will count $5.2 million against the salary cap this season, down from $7.05 million before the pay cut.
“I think it’s more of an ego thing than anything that guys can’t get over,” Hawk said. “They don’t want to say they’re taking a pay cut because it hurts their ego. I let that go a long time ago. I wasn’t worried about it. I don’t care what the outside perception is. If my grandma reads that I took a pay cut and I’m not making as much money, I could put a phone call into her and let her know that it’s going to be OK. We’ll be fine. I have a financial adviser.”