CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Andrew Hawkins is hanging up his cleats.
Hawkins made the announcement Tuesday in a video which was produced for ‘Uninterrupted’ in which he also revealed that he will pursue a Ph.D. in business and economics. Hawkins recently earned a master’s degree from Columbia.
“I’m trying to hit the ground running, but nonetheless nervous,” Hawkins said about life after football.
Hawkins, who signed with New England this offseason, played 6 seasons in the NFL – 3 with the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns.
“After OTAs this summer, my body just didn’t respond and didn’t feel the way it should going into camp,” Hawkins said in the video.
Hawkins, 31, also pledged to donate his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation for study and research. On Tuesday a study was published that showed the brains of 110 of 111 former NFL players had CTE.
In addition to the video announcement, Hawkins wrote a ‘Thank you’ letter to Cleveland. The entire text of it is posted below unedited.
In May of 2008, I loaded up my Chevrolet Impala, and made the roughly two hour drive from the University of Toledo to Berea, in hopes of not returning any time soon. Unfortunately, I was back on the Toledo campus within three days. I had what was, by most accounts, at least a solid performance during my tryout with the Cleveland Browns during their rookie mini-camp. At the conclusion of the camp, I was told by the front office and coaches that I would more than likely be signed within the week. Afterwards, I would check the Browns’ roster transactions every day and pray that the phone would ring to make me a Cleveland Brown. The days, weeks, and months passed by without the phone call ever coming. But, as fate would have it, after working in a factory, working as a caddy, interning as an NFL scout, starring on a reality show, playing in Canada, breaking a leg (literally), getting cut after one practice in St. Louis, and emerging in Cincinnati, on March 11, 2014, the Cleveland Browns finally called and changed my life forever.
Today, my football career comes to an end, but I celebrate the incredible opportunity I was given to wear the same colors as legends like Jim Brown, Otto Graham, Eric Metcalf, Clay Mathews Sr., Paul Warfield, Ozzie Newsome, Josh Cribbs, Bernie Kosar, Joe Thomas, and many more. I count it an incredible honor to be a football descendant of the Godfather of football himself, Mr. Paul Brown. Thank you to all the coaches and my brothers on the field for having my back always, no matter what. Thank you to Jimmy and Dee Haslam for the support, care, and effort you continue to put into turning this storied franchise around. Thank you to Ray Farmer, Sashi Brown, Mike Pettine, and Hue Jackson for allowing me the opportunity to join the Cleveland community.
Lastly, the love and support that Browns fans across the globe have shown my family and I was both unanticipated and greatly appreciated. My time as a Brown was some of the best of my life and I have never experienced such passion from fans in my life. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the unwavering support Cleveland fans showed us through the ups and downs, but I knew it was special to be a part of. I am proud to be a part of the Cleveland community, and in my short time, I hope my small contributions have left it in a better place than when I arrived. Thank you Cleveland, the pleasure was all mine.
Till next time,