Anttaj “Taj” Hawthorne is a former NFL and AFL football defensive lineman, born in New Haven, Connecticut. Taj was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the sixth round of the 2005 NFL Draft. In March 2006, he was allocated by the Raiders to the Frankfurt Galaxy of the NFL Europe. He helped the team win their fourth World Bowl and appeared in all 16 games for the Raiders in 2006. He began his transition from the NFL to the Arena Football League with the Arizona Rattlers in 2008 and played arena football through 2016. In 2018, Anttaj was inducted into the Arizona Rattlers Ring of Honor.
He has transitioned to an entrepreneur in multiple business ventures. His drive to help others is what has motivated him to shift his focus to mentorship, public speaking, and health. After his football career, Anttaj has dedicated his life to helping people, especially sport and military veterans that are dealing with mental health issues.
- Wisconsin Badgers (2000-2004)
- Oakland Raiders (2005-2006)
- Frankfurt Galaxy (2006)
- Arizona Rattlers (2008-2016)
Highlights & Awards
- USA Today High School All-American (2001)
- Parade All-American (2001)
- 3x All-Big Ten (2002–2004)
- Third-team All-American (2004)
- World Bowl champion (XIV)
- Second Team All-Arena (2010)
- First Team All-Arena (2011)
- 3x ArenaBowl champion (2012–2014)
- Arizona Rattler Ring of Honor Induction (2018)
KEYNOTE SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS & EVENTS
Taj’s drive to help others is what has motivated him to shift his focus to mentorship, public speaking, and mental health. His experiences in sports has aided in his success when speaking as he is able to provide valuable insight into the industry. He provides guidance to those in all stages of their collegiate and professional career being that he found success at all levels, including his transition to life after football.