The Falcons have released center Joe Hawley, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Hawley’s release will make room for the addition of center Gino Gradkowski, who was claimed off waivers from the Broncos.
Hawley was on his way to returning from the ACL surgery that ended his 2014 season prematurely. The 26-year-old (27 in October) wasn’t playing exceptionally well in the early going last season, but he appeared in 16 games with seven starts in 2013 and the team was counting on him to start in ’14. This year, Hawley started the first two preseason games for Atlanta but he was moved to the bench for the final two contests. With Gradkowski in the fold, Hawley’s services were no longer needed in Atlanta.