The New England Patriots won’t have the services of slot receiver Andrew Hawkins this season after all. Months after signing with the reigning NFL Champions, the six-year veteran told the team and reporters from The Undefeated Tuesday he will retire from the sport.
Hawkins spent most of his football career — from college to the pros — in the state of Ohio. He played both wide receiver and cornerback at the University of Toledo, but his inability to master one position and diminutive frame (5’7) kept him from finding a spot in the NFL immediately out of college. Instead, he played his first two pro seasons in the Canadian Football League, where he won a pair of Grey Cups with the Montreal Alouettes.
His success in the Great White North led him back stateside, where after failing to catch on with the Rams he was welcomed back to Ohio. He spent three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and emerged as a reliable slot option before the Cleveland Browns signed him away on a four-year, $13.6 million deal.
His first season as a starter was his finest, as Hawkins rolled up 63 receptions and 824 receiving yards to set career highs. Two more solid years followed before asking for — and receiving — his release this offseason. The move was mutually beneficial. The Browns saved $1.8 million in cap space in the process, while Hawkins was free to pursue a role on a contender after having failed to win a playoff game in his previous six seasons.
The explosive wideout languished on the free agent market for a while, but for a good reason — he was finishing up his master’s degree at Columbia University at the time. He eventually caught on with New England.
“In Cleveland, I said it was about joining a contender. The Patriots are THE contender,” Hawkins said on the day of his signing. “You get the opportunity to play with the best quarterback and the best coach in NFL history.”
However, he’ll retire from the game before ever playing a down for the club. Hawkins would have had a tough time cracking the roster for a Patriots team that may have its deepest receiving corps of all time. New England added Brandin Cooks and undrafted free agents Austin Carr and Cody Hollister to a roster that already included established playmakers like Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, and Danny Amendola.
Hawkins will end his career with 209 total receptions and 2,419 receiving yards.
source: bleacher report