Hawk made the announcement via video at about the same time the Browns made their press release:
His statements make it seem like he was interested in moving on from the Browns and on to another step in his career. His appreciation for the Browns seemed very genuine as he discussed his coach, front office and some of his, now, former teammates. If so, doing so this early can only endear the Browns to players and agents looking to be treated "right" by teams.
The Browns press release was equally as effusive with praise toward their former slot receiver:
“Andrew Hawkins was a great asset to the organization in his three seasons with our team,” said Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown. “He was an outstanding example to our young players both on and off the field. The well-intended work he did in the Cleveland community was greatly appreciated and the respect he earned throughout our league for never being afraid to responsibly create an educated dialogue around a societal issue is commendable. I’m not sure where Andrew’s next stop will be but his history shows that whatever he sets his mind to accomplish, success is sure to follow.”
“It's tough to say goodbye to men like Hawk, that have done everything you've asked of them and gone above and beyond when it comes to leadership,” said Head Coach Hue Jackson. “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. Our young players are going to be better players and better people because of the time they spent with Andrew Hawkins.”
Watching Head Coach Hue Jackson talk after the team's lone win this year with Hawkins by his side shows how important Hawk was to the team last year:
The Browns drafted four wide receivers last year including Corey Coleman in the 1st Round. Both Rashard Higgins and Jordan Payton could play a role in the slot while Coleman's do-it-all ability should see some time as well. With both Seth DeValve and Gary Barnidge both very good split tight ends, they could also see some time there.
With Hawkins moving on, many Browns fans will likely expect a free agent or draft pick to fill the role but it is possible the team rolls into next year with the group that they have.
Some Browns fans are frustrated that the team cut Taylor Gabriel to keep the leadership of Hawkins last year since Gabriel played well in Atlanta at times. Gabriel's skills are well known by Browns faithful but his breakout was unlikely here with the quarterback play and the desire to develop the drafted guys.
What will you remember most from Andrew Hawkins time with the Browns?