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Day in the Life: Jaylinn Hawkins finds balance between working hard, having fun playing football

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — There are two sides to the game for Falcons safety Jaylinn Hawkins. There's the serious side when it's time to lock in and be aggressive, and the other when Hawkins likes to unlock his inner child and enjoy all the little moments.

Football is ultimately a kid's game to Hawkins, so why not joke around with teammates? Plus it helps the team jell as an added bonus. 

"We go hard for each other," Hawkins said in an interview with "It's like, okay, now you might as well go out and have fun, too." 

Hawkins starts his Day in the Life video, which you can see above (and was shot in late August), keeping it light with teammates in the locker room. The safety interacts

with any and all teammates, whether it's Richie Grant indulging Hawkins in a high-pitched squeal off the top or joking with "the quiet homie" A.J. Terrell. 

An essential part of any day, but especially for a professional athlete, is nutrition. Hawkins takes fans inside the Falcons cafeteria showing an array of food, drinks and snacks. 

"We be eating too good, can't lie," Hawkins said. 

Hawkins featured DeMarco Hellams putting together his meal at the buffet counter. Hawkins' go-to is a wrap in the green tortilla loaded with chicken, spinach, onions, tomatoes, chipotle sauce and ranch. Hellams didn't order Hawkins' special this time around, but it has become popular with the rest of the squad. 

"Everybody got on my chicken wrap," Hawkins said jokingly. 

Dee Alford took to the concept but added buffalo sauce instead. Despite Hawkins' jokes, he said he's fine with teammates taking his staple and making changes, they can toss it up however they want. 

Once Hawkins drives home, he decompresses after his long day of meetings and practice by "making a beat." The fourth-year Falcons safety produces music to get his mind right. R&B and rap music are his favorite but he'll venture to multiple genres, even Atlanta's own trap music. 

"It's very therapeutic for me," Hawkins said. "That's my little way to get away from ball a little bit.

Hawkins doesn't release his music; it's not about that. Instead, he'll play it for friends and teammates. 

If Hawkins is not creating tunes then he'll journal or read. Hawkins said that he has gotten back into reading this year. Currently, he's finishing up "The Mamba Mentality: How I Play." 

Then Hawkins takes fans inside the locker room at Mercedes-Benz Stadium when the Falcons had a walk-through practice on their home field. That's where he, again, bantered with teammates. 

Just a few were in attendance at the stadium practice. Hawkins said he had some family members in the small crowd, but in the training room he continually has his "auntie." 

Hawkins introduced fans to Falcons assistant athletic trainer Julie Kruessel, who he has nicknamed "Auntie," though they're not actually related. 

"She's very nurturing and a good trainer," Hawkins said. "She's good at what she does, she reminded me of my auntie."

While at the walk-through practice, Hawkins missed the energy of the over 70,000 fans that usually fill the stadium. 

"The fans, I can't wait to see them on Sunday," Hawkins said. "It's always exciting, it's a blessing  — something you dream of as a kid."

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