Andrew Hawkins brings a "can-do" attitude to the Browns' wide receiver corps.
BEREA, Ohio -- When it comes to doing what needs to be done to make an impact for the Cleveland Browns' offense, three-year NFL veteran wide receiver Andrew Hawkins has a simple philosophy.
He is always ready to work.
"I do what's asked of me," Hawkins said. "I see myself as whatever they ask me to do, I'm going to do it. If they ask me to play left tackle, then, I'm going to have to play left tackle.
"I take it a day at a time. I don't like to set any accolades I'm trying to get. I just know that if I go out there and work my butt off in practice, it'll translate, hopefully, into the games. If I work hard in the games and do my best, the pieces will fall where they may."
Hawkins has that willingness to do whatever it takes because at 5-foot-8 and 175 pounds, he had to fight his way onto the roster of the Cincinnati Bengals after trying out for the Browns following the 2008 NFL Draft.
After bouncing around the Canadian Football League with the Montreal Alouettes, Hawkins competed on Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin's reality show, "4th and Long", in an effort to earn a spot on the roster of the Dallas Cowboys before getting that chance with Cincinnati.
"I think the stars aligned, man," Hawkins said. "Besides the fact that I feel I do work hard, I am a student of the game. I study the guys that played before me like Wes Welker. I think guys like that helped change the game to where it wasn't as frowned upon to be a small receiver.
"If I maybe came here for a tryout now as opposed to when I did in 2008, they would be a little more inclined to sign me because the game has shifted from where it wasn't as prevalent that you get a 5-8, 5-7 wide receiver. Times changed, and thank God I had the coaches I did. Guys like coach Marc Trestman, they taught me well, and I was able to learn how to be a professional."
A professional is exactly what Hawkins became in his three years with the Bengals, where he caught 86 passes for 995 yards, averaged 11.6 yards per reception and scored four touchdowns.
"It's a credit to his perseverance, his mental toughness," Browns coach Mike Pettine said. "I think there's some guys that would've packed it in and said, 'Maybe this isn't for me,' but he was confident in himself and he knew that eventually, if the circumstances were right, that he would get a chance to shine. If you had to rate our players in the spring, he'd be right near the top."
During his first offseason with the Browns, Hawkins has made quite the impression on Pettine, as well as his new teammates. In fact, Hawkins left such an impression on offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan that it led to some trash-talking between him and defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil.
"(I like his) short-area quickness, his ability to get in and out of breaks," Pettine said. "There was a play where the defense was called '51 double,' which meant double him, and he still got open. That's when Kyle got after O'Neil a little bit and said, 'You're going to have to put three on him.'
"He's a guy that can win in the slot, and I think it's important to have a guy that can win at tight end, and we think Jordan (Cameron) can be that guy. When you can win in the slot, that causes some issues defensively when you have to allocate two defenders to the slot receiver instead of one. It goes back to the math problem."
Although Hawkins was one of the first players his coaches and teammates talked about as having the most successful offseason program of any Brown, his focus heading into his first training camp with the Browns is on improving every, single play.
"I think the reason why any receiver will be able to succeed in this offense is because they do a great job of detailing the work," Hawkins said. "It is a little different than what I was used to. They're very detailed, and that's a special thing. In an offense, you need detail. You need precision. Kyle, he holds guys accountable.
"Mike McDaniel, the wide receiver coach, he's done a great job of teaching us the concepts and I'm telling you, if I'm half a yard outside of my alignment or I miss my depth by half a yard, I'm getting a minus, and that's a good thing because we need to be perfect. We need to strive for perfection. I think most good offenses do."