New England Patriots: Andrew Hawkins embraces team-first attitude


Andrew Hawkins can thrive under the New England Patriots Way, especially if he’s winning.

After signing a one-year contract with the New England Patriots earlier this week, veteran wide receiver Andrew Hawkins can finally dream big.

He now has a legitimate shot to win the Super Bowl — a vision that looked bleak when he spent three seasons with Cincinnati Bengals and another three years in Cleveland. The Bengals haven’t advanced past the Wild Card Round since 1990. The Browns haven’t made the playoffs since 2002.

“It was never really about the money,” Hawkins said in a video posted on Uninterrupted.com. “And to be honest, I passed up on deals that were probably double the compensation. But like I said, it was all about winning for me at this point and putting myself in the best position to do so.”

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The Browns released Hawkins in February. He was going to earn $1.8 million in 2017. The 5-7, 180-pounder will be another receiver on the Patriots who shines in tight spaces. Last season for Cleveland, he ran 88.8 percent of his routes from the slot, very close to Danny Amendola’s 88.7 percent for the Pats, according to Pro Football Focus.

Amendola was pivotal to the Patriots receiving corps in 2016. In Super Bowl LI, his 17-yard gain on fourth down revived the Pats’ first touchdown drive. He secured the catch, made a sharp turn and bolted up the field for a heap of extra yards. He also charged into the end zone for a two-point conversion to cause overtime and added another vital grab in the game’s expiring minutes.

In 12 games during the 2016 regular season, Amendola collected 243 receiving yards on 23 receptions and a career-high four touchdowns. Although these numbers are far from spectacular, he’s still a tough cover on many short and intermediate routes. Known for his top-notch route-running ability, per the Boston Herald, Amendola can wreak havoc on tired defenses.

Meanwhile, Hawkins’ skills match closely to Amendola’s. The Texas Tech star has more length due to his greater height (5-11), but it’s hard to argue against Hawkins’ change-of-direction pace if you’ve watched this workout posted on his official Instagram page.

The Patriots witnessed Hawkins rack up four catches for 56 yards in an October 2016 bout, as the Browns lost, 33-13, to Belichick’s outfit. Beating Cyrus Jones handily, the Toledo product had no trouble reeling in an 11-yard touchdown catch to exhibit his route-running power.

Belichick likes to acquire players who have played against his squad. That way, he’s able to observe their valuable characteristics, particularly if they had success. This acquisition was no different in that sense.

Hawkins’ desire to be a Patriot for less financial reward than offerings elsewhere demonstrates his love for a winning, team-oriented atmosphere — a mindset Browns head coach Hue Jackson would understand.

“Hawk was a rock for us last season. He kept our locker room together and led by example as he gave everything he had on the field,” Jackson said, through Sporting News. “Our young players are going to be better players and better people because of the time they spent with Andrew Hawkins.”

Hawkins fits New England’s player mold of the undervalued man. He didn’t have many NFL opportunities when he left college. Instead, he had to perform in the Canadian Football League for the Montreal Alouettes, winning Grey Cups in 2009 and 2011. The St. Louis Rams waived him in August 2011, and his three-year stint with the Bengals began.

Interestingly, too, Hawkins’ older brother, Artrell, was a part of the Patriots’ 2005 roster and actually started six games overall alongside Eugene Wilson, courtesy of Pats Pulpit. In 2006, he started 15 games, including three playoff games, and recorded 86 tackles, one sack, three pass deflections and two forced fumbles.

The Patriots receivers, even Amendola, will welcome the competition from a blue-collar veteran like Hawkins. They’re in the business of capturing another Super Bowl victory. And to achieve this end goal, players have to push their limits.

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Source: Fox Sports

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