Hawthorne received his first start ever in Week 3 of the 2009 season in place of the injured Lofa Tatupu. Hawthorne recorded a combined 16 tackles and 1 interception. Tatupu then returned from injury but was shortly fallen again, this time being sidelined for the season. Hawthorne started from Week 8 for the rest of the 2009 season and recorded 117 tackles, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 3 interceptions.
On December 1, 2011 he returned an interception 77 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles in the 4th quarter.