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A.J. Hawk’s Role On ‘The Pat McAfee Show’ Seems To Be Easily Deceivable NPC

Since Pat McAfee moved to ESPN this May, taking his radio show with him, he has found increased attention for his dumb Yinzer shtick. The network, which pays him around $17 million per year, has shoehorned him into as much programming as possible. Why bother with knowing the topic when the only purpose is to be loud about it? But this isn't an examination of what an astonishingly red ex-punter means for the future of sports media. Today is about the guy sharing the split-screen.

Every so often, McAfee grabs attention beyond his usual audience and generates a news cycle when he gets someone else to say something noteworthy. This happens often but not exclusively with the paid appearances of Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who's been phoning in jokes about Anthony Fauci like the 7 p.m. clap is back in style. So whenever Rodgers says prostate exams are woke or whatever, and then a bigger ESPN personality like Adam Schefter reposts it for his followers, an even larger viewership is subjected not just to McAfee's crimson aura but to former NFL linebacker A.J. Hawk, who in these viral clips never talks and only vaguely emotes.

Perhaps this is a byproduct of having a job in sports media, but I feel like over the past couple of years I have seen many, many clips in which a guest on The Pat McAfee Show says something mildly interesting and McAfee responds with an extended YouTube face while Hawk serves the role of a non-playable character in a video game. This man always looks like he's waiting for you to select a dialogue option, and could easily be deceived if your charisma attribute is high enough.

This blog isn't an investigation into whether Hawk has ever actually spoken on the show, because he has. I've done my research, and by that I mean I found the YouTube video "34 Minutes Of AJ Hawk Being The Most Toxic Person On The Planet." After watching about 20 of those 34 minutes, my takeaways were that this guy loves to bring up Jeffrey Epstein, and his contributions to the show are remarkable only if this is your first day on the internet. It also began to make sense why he doesn't talk much. Pick practically any retired 30-something football player at random and there would be no drop-off. But basically every time McAfee has a clip that makes headlines, there's A.J., wordlessly cycling through his preprogrammed movements, waiting for you to trigger a quest after he explains how his wife went on an errand near Basilisk Cove and hasn't been seen in a few days—can you search the area for her?

Even when Hawk's in costume for a Halloween episode, all he can do is silently nod and smirk.

It does not help that Hawk's humongous head and uncannily smooth face would be the envy of BioWare. You could barge into A.J. Hawk's house and agitate him by looting his chests, then stand behind a poorly rendered wall while he keeps yelling “Get back here!” and “Guards! Help!” until the combat music subsides.

The most I've ever heard A.J. Hawk talk was this week, when he explained, while wearing an eyepatch and sunglasses, how he scratched his cornea while trying to pick up his son. He surprisingly did not send me on a fetch quest that required grinding salve drops on CVS Island.

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