BOSTON (CBS) — Andrew Hawkins is hanging up his cleats.
The 32-year-old receiver announced his retirement on Tuesday, two days before the start of Patriots Training Camp in Foxboro.
Hawkins signed a one-year contract with the Patriots in May, and called Bill Belichick to inform him of his decision on Tuesday. He said his body started to break down on him as he prepared for the new season.
“After OTAs and summer training, my body just didn’t respond and wasn’t feeling the way it should going into camp — for training camp, let alone for the defending world champs,” Hawkins said in a video for Uninterrupted.
In addition to his retirement, Hawkins also announced that he has pledged to donate his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation to help support research of CTE.
“I love the game of football, it has changed my life,” Hawkins said in a release from the Concussion Legacy Foundation. “My father, my older brother, and two cousins all played in the NFL. Knowing my kids and nephews are all going to play the game, I owe it to football to help make it better. I think all of us players owe it to the game. That’s why I’m supporting this research.”
Hawkins played six NFL seasons after going undrafted in 2008, playing three seasons for both the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals. He caught nine touchdowns in 59 career games, including three for the Browns in 2016.
After catching a Week 5 touchdown against the Patriots in 2016, Hawkins mocked the NFL’s celebration rules by placing the ball on the ground and walking away like a robot:
With Hawkins’ retirement, the Patriots now have two open roster spots heading into Training Camp.