MILWAUKEE – A.J. Hawk's absence from the Green Bay Packers didn't last long.
Hawk's agent, Mike McCartney, said Thursday that the linebacker signed a five-year deal with the Packers just one day after he was released in a cost-cutting move.
"He's thrilled to be back with his Super Bowl-winning teammates and a first-class organization," McCartney said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
The team announced the deal Thursday evening.
"We are pleased to have reached an agreement with A.J.," Packers general manager Ted Thompson said. "We appreciate his work and dedication and look forward to his contributions to our team in the future."
Hawk, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft, previously was scheduled to earn $10 million in 2011. When the Packers released him Wednesday, they did so with the hope that they could bring him back at a reduced salary.
Thompson said Wednesday the business side of the game drove the decision to release Hawk and he was hopeful Hawk would return. Hawk was free to negotiate with other teams after his release, but clearly focused on the Packers.
Multiple media outlets reported a new deal was imminent after his release, and McCartney told AP on Thursday morning that the two sides were putting the finishing touches on a contract.
Terms of the new deal were not immediately available.
It came on a day the collective bargaining agreement between NFL owners and the NFL Players Association was set to expire, although the two sides later agreed to a 24-hour extension.
Despite his lofty draft status and hardworking reputation, Hawk began the 2010 season as a role player. He ended it as a leader of a Super Bowl-champion defense.
After season-ending injuries to inside linebackers Nick Barnett and Brandon Chillar, Hawk once again became a starter and played a critical role in the Packers' push to their Super Bowl victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was chosen as one of the team's captains in the playoffs.
The Packers now have a potential logjam at inside linebacker. Desmond Bishop earned a new deal during his breakout 2010 season, and Chillar and Barnett remain under contract.
The Packers released two other players Wednesday, tight end Donald Lee and safety Derrick Martin.
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