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Young Packers fan earns Hawk's autograph after hard hit on Larry McCarren

A.J. Hawk. Photo: Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Young Packers fan earns Hawk's autograph after hard hit on Larry McCarren

By Jay Sorgi. CREATED Sep 10, 2013
It's been nearly three decades since Larry McCarren retired from his career as the durable center with the Green Bay Packers.
 
Perhaps the hardest hit since his retirement came Monday when young Packers fan Blake Hermans showed textbook form tackling to earn an autograph from A.J. Hawk on "Packers Live," which airs on TODAY'S TMJ4 and NBC26.
 
Hermans, 12, is just 5'5", 120 - about half of McCarren's playing weight, but Hawk taught him more-than-solid tackling form.
 
Hawk described how he tries to "tackle the ball" while keeping his head up, following the NFL's directives to not lead with the head and possibly cause dangerous injury.
 
"I want to put my forehead onto that ball, and as I'm stepping through...I'm going to try to put my head up on the ball, make it pop out and come up through," said Hawk while gently lifting his arms and shoulders into McCarren's torso, "and drive through."
 
Hermans wasn't so gentle.
 
"Say your prayers," McCarren uttered.
 
Hermans followed Hawk's teaching and used his shoulder to strike McCarren in the torso, nearly sending him into the show background.
 
"Geez," uttered the two-time Pro Bowl center before Hermans stopped his progress to make sure he didn't actually knock McCarren down.
 
As applause rained upon the youngster, Hermans slapped five with Hawk, and McCarren put an arm around the future linebacker.
 
"Well, A.J., did he earn your autograph?" asked McCarren in a rather mezzo-soprano-like voice.
 
"He definitely earned it," uttered Hawk, who penned his "John Hancock" on a football for Hermans.