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Former Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk is ready for life after football

The Buckeye legend had a great career at both the college and professional level but is ready to succeed in retirement.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

“I’ll always miss playing the game and I’ll forever be grateful for all it has given me, and I’m pretty determined to not end up as a retirement horror story.”

- A.J. Hawk, The Players’ Tribune

A.J. Hawk is quite the legend around Columbus, Ohio for his dominance with Ohio State during his years with the Buckeyes. A fearsome linebacker that made quite the career for himself in the NFL, Hawk finished with 644 tackles during his tenure at the professional level and was a staple of the Green Bay Packers defense for much of his time there. Now, Hawk is headed for retirement after short stints with the Bengals and Falcons. But Hawk is aware of the problem many players who retire from the NFL face. Like he mentions in his article, there are a lot of players who simply don’t know what they can do as passionately as they played football and are stuck in sort of a limbo for the rest of their lives in some cases.

Hawk is determined to make the most of his retirement, though. He’s already planning on filling his schedule with plenty of appearances and wants to pursue a career in broadcasting - something that has become common among former players at the professional level of sports. Regardless of where he ends up or what he does, you can rest assured Hawk won’t be one of those retirement stories that people want to avoid.

“[Award Watch List] John Mackey Award: Marcus Baugh, Rimington Trophy: Billy Price.”

- Ohio State Buckeyes

It’s award season once again, and you know that means Ohio State will be involved. There have already been a few announcements as to who made the watch list for several other awards, but the John Mackey award (nation’s top tight end) and the Rimington Trophy (nation’s top center) announced their watch lists for the season. Marcus Baugh from Ohio State made the cut on the watch list after contributing 24 receptions for 269 yards in 2016. If he can replicate his success from last season this year, Baugh has a chance to finish into school history as a top 10 tight end in terms of receptions.

The other Buckeye to make a watch list was Billy Price. Another senior for Ohio State, Price has been a solid contributor on the offensive line his whole career and he is a returning first-team All-American and all-Big Ten Conference honoree. The past three seasons, Price hasn’t missed a game as a starter and will try to follow the footsteps that Pat Elflein left behind after winning the Rimington Trophy last season before jumping into the NFL.

Unlike last year, when Oklahoma had to open with a "neutral site" game against Houston (still in Houston by the way) before playing Ohio State, the Sooners have a much easier road to the Buckeyes this time around. Oklahoma opens at home against UTEP on Sept. 2 before traveling to Columbus.

- Bill Landis, Cleveland.com

Bill Landis of Cleveland.com is going through each of the opponents Ohio State faces this season and giving a percentage chance of that team beating the Buckeyes. This season, when Ohio State hosts Oklahoma in Columbus, Landis gives the Buckeyes a 43 percent chance to lose to the Sooners. Last season, in the same sort of article, Landis gave Ohio State a 70 percent chance to lose when they traveled to Norman, Okla. After a big win over Oklahoma, the Buckeyes rolled their way to the College Football Playoff (after a road bump against Penn State) and the Sooners also finished strong, not losing another game.

This season, things are a little different for Ohio State. And a lot is different for the Sooners. To start off, they no longer have Bob Stoops at the helm after he announced his retirement. Baker Mayfield returns but does lose some weapons in the forms of Joe Mixon, Dede Westbrook and Samaje Perine. So the Sooners will have to find some new playmakers that Mayfield can work with. The good news, in addition to Mayfield, is that Oklahoma returns an experienced offensive line that should improve even more from last season. Either way, it’s sure to be a top game in the second week of college football that should bring plenty of eyes upon the Horseshoe.

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