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Hawley enjoying NFL lifestyle
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The Atlanta Falcons had a screaming need on the offensive line leading into the 2010 NFL Draft. The franchise took that need seriously with two picks on the offensive line, the second of which was fourth-round pick Joe Hawley from UNLV. Hawley is an asset with his versatility in the interior of the line, including starting at both guard and center during his college career with the Runnin’ Rebels.
As a junior, he stood out in college by allowing only one sack during the entire 13-game season.
On the final day of Organized Team Activities last month in Flowery Branch, Times sports writer Bill Murphy spoke with Hawley about the transition to the pros, Atlanta’s emphasis on producing a top-notch offensive line and growing up on the west coast.

Question: How was the OTA’s as your first taste of life in the NFL?
Answer: I’m really enjoying it. It’s kind of what I expected. It’s a little bit faster and the guys are a little stronger than college, but I feel like I’m adjusting well.
Q: What about the priority the team’s placed on the offensive line? It has to make you feel good that the team things it’s a priority.
A: It’s definitely a priority, which means they are dedicated to starting a foundation here and having many winning seasons to come. It all starts with the O-Line, and I think they realize that.
Q: What about attending college at UNLV? I know it has to be interesting attending school in a city like Las Vegas.
A: It was different. Their was always something to do, but I’m very happy to be here now.
Q: I see you’re from Yorba Linda, Calif. What do you do for fun growing up out there?
A: It’s a real laid back kind of place. It’s really relaxed out there. You’re close to the beach, 40 minutes from the mountains and can go snowboarding — all really close to home. There’s a lot of outdoor activities to stay involved with. I loved growing up in Southern California.
How big was high school football where you grew up in Southern California?
A: It was really big in Orange County and kind of a powerhouse, at least in my eyes. A lot of college and NFL talent is coming out of there.
Q: What did you dream to be growing up?
A: I didn’t start playing football until I was in high school and I didn’t know where I was going to go the first couple of years. Once I started playing varsity football in high school, I loved it. I loved the competition and loved everything about it. Once I got a scholarship, I knew this is what I wanted to do, whether it was coaching it or just involved in it some how. This is just a dream come true to be out here with the Atlanta Falcons.
Q: What did you know about the Atlanta Falcons before you got drafted by the team?
A: Not much. I actually never knew they had never had back-to-back winning seasons until last year, which surprised me because I always thought they were always a pretty good team. I never followed the Falcons much growing up, but I’m really excited to be a part of the family now. This is a great franchise.
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