CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 11: Andrew Hawkins #16 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs upfield against Brian Cushing #56 of the Houston Texans during their game at Paul Brown Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Texans defeated the Bengals 20-19. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
Andrew Hawkins, AKA "Baby Hawk", came out of no where to play a key role in the Bengals trip to the playoffs last season. He did what ever the coaches asked of him. Often lining up in different positions on the field and even playing special teams. Hawkins could still be on the outside looking in when it comes to securing a spot on the 53 man roster. Hawkins understands that last year means little when it comes to making this years team. Speaking with Bengals radio voice Dan Hoard, "Baby Hawk" told Hoard that he does not feel that he has a secured spot on the team:
"No – last year doesn’t matter," Hawkins told Hoard. "It’s the nature of the business. They have to put their best players out there. I have to come in here and prove it all over again and that’s the name of the game."
Hawkins knows that making the team will not be easy, so he is working hard to show that he belongs:
Hawkins seems like the type of guy that is just thankful to be in the NFL. He knows that the league does not owe him anything, and he knows that he only has a certain amount of time to make his presence known. He is thankful that children are finally excited to hear his story:
"You go to work," said Hawkins when asked what he’ll do to try to earn a spot. "Teams are not going to be made in the spring. They’re going to be made in training camp and they are going to be made in preseason games. I tell the young guys that everybody is not going to be able to play here, but if you work on becoming a better receiver and put it on film, you’ll have a place to go play. That’s really what it’s all about."
"I did a lot of speaking at camps and schools," said Hawkins. "I remember a time when they didn’t care to hear me speak and it will come again. Hopefully while I’m playing in the NFL, kids get excited and I’m able to tell my story. If it can help somebody, that’s the biggest thing for me."
The 5'7 play-maker has the right perspective, something that makes him so likeable. Another thing that Hawkins has going for him is his ability to play special teams:
"I’m hoping to do whatever they ask me to do," Andrew told Hoard. "If they want me to return punts or kickoffs, or run down on coverage, that’s what a football player does. I’m trying to get better at everything."
The ability to play special teams at a high level could give Hawkins a slight edge on other receiver hopefuls. The other receivers hoping to make the team include, Armon Binns, Vidal Hazelton, Justin Hilton, Marvin Jones, Kashif Moore, Taveon Rogers, Mohamed Sanu (Semi-lock), Jordan Shipley (Possible PUP candidate), Brandon Tate, and Ryan Whalen.
Hawkins has a message for all young people looking to achieve their dreams:
"Perseverance and hard work man," said Hawkins. "That’s the name of the game. You have to believe in yourself and you have to put in the work to back it up."