By Nick Shook
Read full post on NFL.com
Now, he’s graduating from professional football.
Hawkins announced Tuesday via UNINTERRUPTED that he is retiring from the NFL after six seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns. Hawkins is ending his career before camp with the New England Patriots begins, citing his not feeling physically ready for training camp at 31 years old.
Hawkins signed with New England in late May with the knowledge that he’d face a great battle to earn a roster spot with the Super Bowl LI champions, saying he was joining the Patriots for the best chance to win.
Hawkins, a product of Toledo, began his professional career in the Canadian Football League, where he played two seasons with the Montreal Alouettes before jumping to the NFL by way of an offseason spent with the Rams. He later made his way onto the Bengals‘ active roster, where he remained from 2011-2013, catching 86 passes for 995 yards and four touchdowns in 35 games played.
Hawkins signed with the Browns as a free agent in 2014 and immediately posted his best season in the NFL, catching 63 passes for 824 yards and two touchdowns in his first season in Cleveland. The Browns released the diminutive slot receiver in February after an influx of younger receivers made Hawkins the odd man out.
Hawkins’ master’s degree from Columbia is in sports management, and his goal is to become a general manager in the NFL. With his cleats now on the shelf, a suit awaits the aspiring future executive.