Behind the Facemask: Joe Hawley


Frank Kleha: You have a special connection to the military and you have planned something unique for some military families. What connection do you have and what are you doing for them?  

Joe Hawley: We are throwing a Christmas party for five military families next Tuesday (Dec. 10). We are buying them a bunch of gifts to help get their mind off what they are going through and all the sacrifices they've made. We are going to play games with the kids and will have some other cool surprises for them also. We want to show them our appreciation for all they do. I have a brother-in-law, Gunnery Sergeant Stephen Stone, who is a Marine in San Angelo, Texas that just got back from Afghanistan about six months ago. My sister was pregnant when he was gone and had a kid. So, I understand the sacrifices that all these people go through, not just the guys serving, but the family members as well. So that's why I want to give back and show the families we really care.

FK: Favorite athlete growing up?

JH: Brett Favre. My dad is from Green Bay so I grew up watching the Packers. And I really like the way he competed.

FK: Tell me about the long beard that you've seemingly have had ever since you've been with the Falcons and is a source of discussion in the locker room?

JH: I just really don't like shaving! I've always had a beard. Between my sophomore and junior year in high school, I had a little peach fuzz goatee. I thought it looked a lot sweeter back then but I look back on it now and it didn't look that sweet (laughing). Since then, I've had some type of facial hair. I have only shaved my face fully probably three times. I like changing it up. In college, I would grow it out long, probably not this long, and then on a whim I would get tired of it and shave it into a goatee or trim it up. This is probably closest to the longest I've ever had it. I take a lot of pride in edging it up. I like making it look good and clean. I get a lot of comments on it so I don't like it to look bad.

FK: Any hobbies outside of football?

JH: I actually bought a pottery wheel in the offseason and I throw pots.

FK: Throw pots?

JH: You put clay on a pottery wheel and you build the pot. I guess you could also call it throwing clay. I did it in high school and I really enjoyed it. It's peaceful and helps me take my mind off of things.

FK: How did you get started?

JH: I did it in a ceramic class in high school. Every week they pick a different person to do the wheel and I was very good at it so I got to stay on the wheel the whole year.  I just threw pots all year and got really good at it. I started as a junior and did it for two years. I'm rusty right now, but I'm pretty good at it.

FK: What's the best thing you've created?

JH: The cool thing about throwing pots is you go with the flow. You have an idea of what you want it to be but it never really ends up how you think it's going to be.

FK: First car?

JH: Chevy Cabrolet. It was an old-style convertible and it looked like a little clown car.

FK: Hollywood crush growing up?

JH: Natalie Portman. She's not the super sexy type, but she's cute and the kind of like the hometown girl.

FK: Favorite indulgence?

JH: Chinese food. I absolutely love Chinese food. I like hole-in-wall Chinese places but its hard to find good ones. There's one in my hometown where I grew up called Far East Garden. It's a hole-in-the wall off the freeway and it's amazing. Every time I go back home I get some.

FK: What's your favorite Chinese dish?

JH: It's sesame chicken, barbeque chicken and fried rice.

FK: If you weren't playing football, what would you be doing?

JH: I would be coaching. I'm not sure what level but I would really like to coach high school and have an impact on kid's lives and mentor them.

FK: I heard you started late playing football.

JH: I didn't watch much football when I was younger and didn't really know the positions. I didn't start playing until my freshman year in high school. I asked my buddies once, 'Do you want to go out for the football team?' and they said 'no, we would get crushed.' So I told them, 'I think I'm going to go out.' And right when I stepped out there I loved it.

FK: I know you love to play golf, what would be your ultimate foursome?

JH: Tiger Woods, Brett Favre and Mike Johnson (my teammate). Mike's my golfing buddy whenever I go golfing.

FK: If you had to do something at a talent show, what could you do?

JH: I can dance. I can do a little robot and the worm. I do a pretty mean worm. Actually, I've always wanted to be a break dancer, too. I think it's really cool what they do and I appreciate the art of it, the talent level and the challenge of it. I respect what they do. I think it's awesome. I've tried to do some moves but I've always told myself I'm too big and heavy to hold myself up. If I wanted to do it, I would have to lose a bunch of weight.

FK: Anything make you nervous?

JH: Spiders. I hate spiders. A lot of people hate snakes but snakes don't bother me because you can see where they are going. But you don't know where spiders are because they are so small. I don't mind roaches or other bugs, but spiders bother me.

FK: Are you a movie buff?

JH: I love movies. I've got a huge movie collection in my house. I would say I have 50 or 60 movies.

FK: What are some of your best movies?

JH: Armageddon with Bruce Willis. That was one of my favorites growing up. It's just a good all-around movie the way they set it up. There are just so many different side storylines and it makes you feel for the characters.  I like the Hunger Games, Remember the Titans, Walk Hard – The Dewey Cox Story, and Limitless.

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