Cincinnati Bengals release linebacker A.J. Hawk

CINCINNATI (AP) The Cincinnati Bengals have released linebacker A.J. Hawk.

A native of southwest Ohio who starred at Ohio State, Hawk joined the Bengals as a free agent last spring after spending nine seasons with the Green Bay Packers and departing as that team's career leader in tackles.

The 32-year-old Hawk played in 16 games last season for the Bengals, with 11 starts. He logged 24 tackles and a sack. He also played in the team's wild card playoff game.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said Hawk was a pleasure to have on the team but that the Bengals ''are going a different direction at this point.''

The 6-foot-1, 240-pound Hawk was a consensus All-American in two of his four seasons at Ohio State.