Minemyer chip | Penn State’s Hawkins Had Excellent Mentors As He Reflected On Life After Football | Local sports


While in Tampa for the Outback Bowl, Aeneas Hawkins went out to dinner with some of his Penn State teammates.

As they sat in the restaurant, sports broadcasts were playing on the televisions around them. and there on one screen was his uncle, Andrew Hawkins, a Johnstown native, a former college and pro player and now a successful broadcaster with the NFL Network and several other outlets.

As a broadcast journalism major preparing to graduate this summer, Aeneas Hawkins was reminded that there is life after football.

On Wednesday, he announced on social media that he would give up football to focus on finishing his studies and pursuing a career in marketing or sports programming.

“Life is good,” Aeneas, who grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, said in a telephone interview from Penn State. “I feel good about the decision I made.”

The same goes for his father, Artrell Hawkins Jr., who played at Bishop McCort Catholic High School and then at the University of Cincinnati before a 10-year NFL career as a defensive back with the Cincinnati Bengals. , the Carolina Panthers and the New England Patriots.

Artrell – blessed with his high school years with a rich baritone voice – also worked extensively in sports broadcasting after stepping away from the game as a player in 2008.

“I wanted my son to be comfortable with his decision to stop playing, and he is,” said Artrell.

“He’s loved the game his whole life. But he has a lot to offer. He will graduate.

“He did everything right. I have never had a bad report from his coaches or his teachers. In fact, it is quite the opposite.

‘Physically demanding’

Injuries were a factor as Aeneas made her life-changing decision, as it was for her father, her uncle and so many who chose the path of football.

A much sought-after defensive tackle, Aeneas broke his foot twice while playing at Archbishop Moeller High School in Cincinnati and suffered a series of injuries at Penn State that kept him from reaching the top of the rankings. depths.

The list includes an ACL tear, two shoulder injuries and five surgeries since 2013.

“I have always been aware that football is not going to last as long as I might have liked,” said Aeneas.

Artrell said of himself that he “had probably played two years too many”.

“When I was playing, you kind of felt locked in, like you had to keep working for as long as possible,” said Artrell. “It’s a mental struggle besides being physically demanding on your body.”

Andrew Hawkins also understands the physical difficulty of playing football.

He was a statewide player at Bishop McCort despite a broken ankle, then played at the University of Toledo.

His football stoppages included two Gray Cup championship seasons with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League, a second place finish on the “4th and Long” reality show – in search of a spot with the Cowboys of Dallas – and six seasons as a wide receiver with the Cleveland Bengals and Browns from 2011-2016.

In 2017, he tried out the Patriots while completing a Masters in Sports Management at Columbia University. He put that education to good use with appearances on ESPN’s SportsCenter, the Discovery Channel and many other outlets, while co-founding a sports training and media company, Status Pro. His long resume includes an appearance in the film “The Ides Of March” and an Oscar as producer of the animated short “Hair Love” in 2020.

A family business “

A young man moving from football to work in sports media couldn’t find better mentors than those around Aeneas Hawkins.

“He’s one of the most talented guys I know,” Aeneas said of his uncle. “I’ve been one of his biggest fans, since he was at McCort and Toledo and the NFL. He really motivated and inspired me. I never thought there was anything I couldn’t do, and part of it was because I was watching it.

Andrew said he saw in his nephew “value far beyond the playing field”.

Aeneas said faith is at the heart of his life, while his soccer lessons include “fighting adversity, staying disciplined with training and schoolwork”.

Andrew’s message to Aeneas is: “There are no guarantees. There aren’t a lot of places available in these studios with what we do, not a lot of places in these rooms. But I do believe that Aeneas has a chance to be three times as good as me. He has personality. He’s a football connoisseur, and he’s been like that since he was 6 years old. He has charisma. He has the knowledge and, most importantly, he works hard.

Aeneas Hawkins comes from a family tree that also includes the late Artrell Hawkins Sr., his grandfather, who had a solid career at Pitt that earned him a spot in training camp with the Pittsburgh Steelers; the late Carlton Haselrig, a cousin who was a National Champion wrestler and All-Pro goalie with the Steelers; his cousin Geroy Simon, the all-time career leader for receiving yards in the CFL and assistant general manager of the Edmonton Elks of the Canadian League; his cousin Jeff Richardson, who won a Super Bowl with the New York Jets; and a close friend of the LaRod Stephens-Howling family, who played at Pitt and then with the Steelers and Arizona Cardinals in the NFL.

Hawkins Sr., Haselrig, Simon, Richardson, and Stephens-Howling all stood out at Greater Johnstown High School.

The Hawkins brothers often refer to football as “the family business” – a business that is now in its third generation.

Aeneas has said he hopes to start working in media for the Penn State team under coach James Franklin.

But he has an eye on the paths to success traveled by so many before him.

“Looking at them, I have always seen football as a means to an end,” Aeneas said. “I loved the game. I love the competition.

“But I knew it was time to take my energy elsewhere.”

Chip Minemyer is the editor and managing director of The Tribune-Democrat and TribDem.com, managing director of The Times-News in Cumberland, MD, and CNHI’s regional editor for Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia and North Carolina. He can be reached at 814-532-5091. Follow him on twitter @MinemyerChip.

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