Hawkins ready to return

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Life is pretty much the same, four days a week for Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Brent Hawkins.

Hawkins wakes up around 7:30 a.m., grabs breakfast and heads straight to Jacksonville Municipal Stadium for two hours of rehabilitation and weight training. He is greeted by the Jaguars training staff and other players who are recovering from injuries, including running back Greg Jones and defensive end Reggie Hayward.

"Every day it's the same guys," Hawkins said. "We don't chatter much. We have our little jokes, but it's mostly all business."

Hawkins suffered a groin injury on October 29 at Philadelphia and was forced to miss the club's final nine games. He has used the time to add 20 pounds of muscle and his groin is close to one-hundred percent.

"They (trainers) told me I am pretty much training for the offseason right now," Hawkins said.

Prior to the injury, Hawkins was finding his niche as a pass-rusher. He recorded a sack in his final two games including a sack of Donovan McNabb in the fourth quarter of the Eagles game. He became the first Jaguars rookie since John Henderson in 2002 to have a sack in back-to-back games.

"I was really starting to get comfortable," Hawkins said. "Everything was coming easier. The game speed wasn't much of a factor, but it seemed like the more Ray (Hamilton) and Coach (Ted) Monachino were coaching me, things started to slow down. I was understanding the big picture."

Hawkins, a fifth-round pick from Illinois State in the 2006 draft, started his NFL career as a linebacker before the coaches switched him back to his college position of defensive end midway through training camp. It didn't take long for Hawkins to pick up his old tricks as he led the team with three sacks in the preseason.

"It was tough in training camp trying to learn the linebacker position in such a sophisticated system," Hawkins said. "When I went to defensive end I was way more comfortable."

Hawkins is looking forward to becoming a complete defensive end in the offseason. He would like to continue to gain weight and spend time working on his technique with the coaches.

"It's going to be great," Hawkins said. "I see the light now and I am really amped up for the next camp. I am not going to have the rookie jitters. I know the playbook. Now, I get to just work on pass-rush techniques and I don't have to worry about the other stuff. I don't want to be known as just a pass-rusher. I want to put on some weight and be able to actually play the run, too."

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