Joe Hawley made it to the NFL and made millions of dollars over an eight-year career.
Now, he gets to live the American Dream.
Via Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, the former Buccaneers and Falcons offensive lineman has taken a unique approach to retirement, embarking on a new journey this week.
The 29-year-old Hawley gave away most of his belongings, bought a customized camper/van, adopted a dog and is setting out to see the country at his own pace.
“Just the stress — I was waking up every day, unhappy, unsatisfied,” he said. “The fun thing about football is playing the game, and I was doing all the hard work without that. … (The ulcers) were another turning point: I can’t put my body through this. You have to enjoy your life, too. I don’t want to be in a wheelchair.”
Instead, he’s on his own, in a far different set of wheels. He has no itinerary, though he plans to hit a lot of the tourist spots like Niagara Falls, Mount Rushmore, and Glacier National Park, as he tries to see America and write his own next chapter.
In the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s game, Manziel said nothing to suggest that he won’t show up in four days for the second and final game of The Spring League season. (Also, despite characterizations appearing elsewhere suggesting that he complained about the quality of play in The Spring League, his post-game scrum included no general or specific criticism of the players around him.)
Still, to get to the NFL, Manziel will need to show a lot more than what he showed last night. Specifically, he needs to show something more than rolling to the right and waiting for someone to get open. If that’s all he can still do well, NFL defenses will shut it down quickly, and then he’ll be screwed.
CFL defenses will shut it down quickly, too. Which means that it makes sense for Manziel to take advantage of one more chance to get live reps with The Spring League before heading to the CFL. But it’s becoming more and more clear that his effort to get back to the NFL will include an attempt to show dominance in the Canadian league.