‘Embrace the Suck’

Steelers Jerald Hawkins attempts comeback from injury

Jeff Hathhorn
August 24, 2019 - 6:00 am

93.7 the Fan

PITTSBURGH (93.7 the Fan) – Steelers tackle Jerald Hawkins has been through a lot and it’s been coaches and teammates helping him get through it, but also a piece of advice from his family.

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“My brothers are both in the army and they always say you have to ‘Embrace the Suck’,” Hawkins said.  “You are going to have some bad times you just have to keep pushing.  It’s only temporary.  Only you can make yourself better.  You are going to have obstacles, just keep pushing.”

And that’s what the 25 year-old from LSU has tried to do overcoming a shoulder injury his rookie year, playing five games before injury his second year and Hawkins spent his third year on injured reserve due to a knee injury.

“Honestly, it’s a blessing,” Hawkins said.  “The first time putting on pads at the start of camp, it’s been 19 months, grateful and thankful now.”

Hawkins said the veterans on the offensive line have kept an eye on him and Hawkins attended every meeting last year.  The big advice was to not worry about the past, just keep moving forward and work on being consistent.

“Keep your head down and just do your job,” Hawkins said.  “There is always something you can learn.”

Hawkins believed he was making ‘a major leap’ forward before his latest injury and isn’t worried about getting hurt.  In fact he enjoys the tough, hot days of August practice.

“These days in camp are what help you out, that helps the games come much easier and slows it down,” Hawkins said.  “These days out here are harder, you’re going against Cam, Bud, Ola, the whole defense.  They help me challenge myself every day because they know what I’m coming off of.  I love how they keep me focused and keep me stable.”

Hawkins faces an uphill battle with the emergence of other young lineman and his injury history, but says he just wants it to be like it was, being a little kid again playing ball.

“Honestly, I have dreams about it,” Hawkins said.  “I can’t explain it.  I just can’t wait.  It’s been a long time coming.  I’m just ready to get back to work.”

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