The Patriots signed Artrell Hawkins as a free agent on Nov. 16. The eighth-year veteran has appeared in 105 career games and has started four at safety for New England. The 5-foot-10-inch, 190-pounder was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round (43rd overall) of the 1998 NFL Draft. The former University of Cincinnati product played his first six seasons for the Bengals before spending the 2004 campaign with the Carolina Panthers. Hawkins was asked early on to make the switch from cornerback to safety and made an immediate impact as he solidified a position that was feeling the loss of Rodney Harrison to injury. He finished the regular season with 11 tackles, 6 assists and 1 sack.
Hawkins sat down with us to answer some questions about his life both on and off the football field.
What was your favorite cartoon growing up? Tom and Jerry. I always thought it was funny. I was never into Transformers or anything else.
What was your favorite video game growing up? The original Tecmo Bowl. If you pick the Bo Jackson play, you go in for a score.
Who is your favorite actress? I would say Halle Berry.
What is your favorite concert that you have attended? A Michael Jackson concert in Pittsburgh in 1988. I was in eighth grade. We sent in for tickets and when we got them back we had third row in the center. My brother, my sister, my cousin and I all got a chance to go on stage and dance during the concert.
What is your favorite reality TV show? The Apprentice.
OFF THE FIELD
What is one type of food that you refuse to eat? I don't like uncooked tomatoes.
What is one thing that you have always wanted to do? Go to the Pro Bowl.
What is the most interesting thing you did this past offseason? I did an internship with a building developer in North Carolina. You always want to be prepared for life after football. I'm also trying to get involved with the Harvard business classes run through the NFL.
What is something that annoys you? Imperfection.
Do you have a nickname? Hawk.
Who is the best-dressed player in the locker room? I would say Hank Poteat. He is pretty slick.
ON THE FIELD
When you were with Cincinnati and Carolina, which player in the Patriots locker room did you respect the most? Tom Brady. He is kind of the face of the organization. For a guy to have three Super Bowls in five seasons, he is virtually a Hall of Famer and he is still playing.
This is your first year with the Patriots.What makes this organization so successful? It is easy too see the selflessness and the professionalism in this locker room. You always hear that this team doesn't have superstars, but it does have superstars. The thing is they don't act like superstars. They come in, study hard and they work.
In your mind, what makes a great teammate? A player that knows his job.
What is the toughest thing about the NFL that most people wouldn't know? The mental and physical grind of the season. Sunday is fun, but there is a lot more to it in terms of preparation.
THIS OR THAT
Jessica Simpson or Halle Berry? Halle Berry.
Play in the rain or play in the snow? Play in the snow. In western Pennsylvania where I'm from, we like it the hard way.
Early riser or night owl? Night owl. If I don't have anything to do the next day, I might stay up until six or seven in the morning.
College football BCS or playoff format? Playoff format.
Better vacation: A week in Europe or a week on the beach in Cancun? Cancun, I have never been to Europe.
JUST FOR FUN
If you could change one rule in the NFL, what would it be? I would change the illegal contact rule within five yards. I think it is unfair. It gives the offense an advantage.
If this team had an arm wrestling tournament, who would walk away with the championship? I'll go with Richard Seymour.
What is something that you absolutely can't live without? My wife, Carrie. She is definitely the CEO of the house.
If you were trapped on a deserted island, which one of your teammates would you most like to have by your side? Eugene Wilson. He is knowledgeable. Plus, I heard him talking about the outdoors the other day.