Bengals sign linebacker A.J. Hawk

Weston Hodkiewicz
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Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk (50)stares down New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) during the 2011 season opener at Lambeau Field.

A.J. Hawk is going home.

The former Green Bay Packers linebacker has signed a two-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals, according to his agent Mike McCartney. A native of Kettering, Ohio, Hawk played at Ohio State and has a home in the state.

Hawk, 31, was released by the Packers last month after nine seasons. He underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his ankle after the season, but said when his release was announced on Feb. 26 that he expected to get cleared soon.

Cincinnati is deep at inside linebacker after placing a second-round tender on Emmanuel Lamur and re-signing Rey Maualuga to a three-year contract. There is some uncertainly at the position with Vontaze Burfict coming off microfracture surgery.

The Packers cleared $3.5 million in cap space in releasing Hawk, who started the first 11 games before being pulled from the nickel and dime subpackages in favor of Matthews and second-year linebacker Sam Barrington.

Hawk finished as the team's all-time leader with 1,118 tackles, surpassing John Anderson. He exceeded 100-plus tackles in seven of his nine seasons. Five seasons, Hawk led the Packers in tackles, tying linebacker Nick Barnett's record.

-- and follow him on Twitter @WesHod

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