Outside of the obvious, illustrious beard, Hawley’s on-field persona is one that embodies toughness and intensity. He’s always flying downfield, always trying to be a part of the play and always trying to ruin someone else’s day.
It’s an attitude Hawley has carried with him since he was playing high school football and he wanted to be a skill position player. His body size, however, didn’t quite fit for running back or wide receivers his age, so he was put on the offensive line.
He’s the kind of player that desperately wants to make an impact in a game, but on offensive line, he says, you don’t usually get noticed unless you do something bad. That brings out an intensity in him that has become contagious among his offensive line teammates.
“Hustling downfield and making an extra key block for a guy to spring him free, that’s what I’m trying to do,” Hawley said. “I’m always trying to get involved in the play past what I need to do to try and make an impact on the game.”
There are two sides to making that impact. Of course, there’s the blocking to the edge of the whistle side of it and there’s the attitude that comes after it.
You see, Hawley’s not out there to make friends. He knows the man across from him is trying to ruin his day, so he tries to beat him to it.
“Getting under people’s skin really affects them when you’re playing against them,” Hawley said. “I don’t do it, technically, to get under people’s skin and (make them mad). I do it to play hard and that’s just the way I was raised playing the game, and I really just want to make an impact on the game. It helps out when you get on their nerves, though.”
That’s something he’s trying to spread throughout the offensive line. The players around him have fed off of that, and even though he’s still getting his jersey dirty much more than the coaching staff would like, Ryan has noticed the extra edge Hawley brings to the men up front.
“He plays with great energy, and I think that’s contagious,” Ryan said. “Guys on our offense have responded to that.
“I love it,” Ryan added with a smile. “I love guys like that, playing to the whistle and giving me everything they have, and Joe’s certainly a guy like that.”