Hawk released, but talks with Packers for return continue

A.J. Hawk will not play for the Green Bay Packers in 2011 for $10 million. That doesn’t mean he will not be returning.

The Packers released the veteran linebacker and former first-round draft pick today but there is still a possibility he returns for the defending Super Bowl champions. Hawk had a slow start to his career but has been a valuable performer the last two seasons in Dom Capers’ scheme.

General manager Ted Thompson was forced to cut ties with Hawk, who otherwise would have been guaranteed $10 million. According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Thompson and Hawk’s representatives have negotiated for the past week and they are expected to continue to talk – up until the point there is a work stoppage. Per the report, they’ll talk up until the deadline.

“With A.J., the business side of the game is driving this decision,” Thompson said in a statement released by the team. “We’re hopeful that we can continue to work with A.J. to have him be a part of our team in the future.”

Hawk wasn’t the only player let go. Tight end Donald Lee and safety Derrick Martin were also cut loose. They’re not expected to return. The moves saved a total of more than $13.3 million.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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