It was a pretty good off-season for AJ Hawk.

First, the Packers linebacker flew with the Blue Angels in La Crosse. Then, he spent last week in Lake Tahoe for the American Century Celebrity Golf Pro-Am.

His wife and kids were there. His brother carried his bag.

Now, it's time to get back to work. Training Camp starts Saturday.

Believe it or not, the Packers' 2006 first-round pick is preparing for his ninth year in the NFL. He's one of the veterans but said he feels better than ever.

"I'm 30 now and that's ancient in NFL terms, but I say all the time, whether people believe it or not, I feel great. I feel better at 30 than I did at 22," Hawk said from Lake Tahoe.

The next season is about to begin, but last season is still weighing on him. Aaron Rodgers missed two months with a broken collarbone, and without him, Hawk said the defense didn't step up.

"I think Aaron's the best football player on the planet, so when he goes down and you lose him for seven games or whatever, it's going to make it tougher on your team to win but that was up to us," Hawk said.

"As a defense, we should've stepped up and played better for sure and stood up for our offense until Aaron got back. We didn't do that. We needed to look at that as an opportunity and we didn't.

"This year we'll hopefully take some steps to get back towards that, to becoming a dominant defense."