Hawkins had kind things to say about playing for the Browns and about Head Coach Hue Jackson, whom he called one of the best coaches in football.
"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 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."
Hawkins tied for second on the team with three touchdown catches in 2016. He logged 33 receptions for 324 yards, while appearing in all 16 games. In six NFL seasons between the Bengals (2011-13) and Browns (2014-16), Hawkins has appeared in 74 games and caught 209 passes for 2,419 yards with nine touchdowns. He joined the Browns as a restricted free agent in 2014 and led the team in receptions and receiving yards that season. He appeared in 39 games with the Browns and recorded 123 receptions for 1,424 yards with five touchdowns.
"I'm so grateful for my time in Cleveland, I will never forget my first tryout as a Brown back in 2008, praying for the opportunity to wear the Orange and Brown on Sundays," said Hawkins. "Thank you to Jimmy and Dee Haslam, who have been both incredible owners and role models throughout my time here and I'm forever grateful for the opportunity they granted me. Thank you to Sashi Brown and Hue Jackson, who have supported me both on and off the field and will continue to be mentors to me for years to come. Thank you to my incredible teammates for allowing me the opportunity to be one of your captains, it was an honor to battle with you, week in and week out. And lastly, thank you Cleveland Browns fans, you are one of the best fanbases in all of the world, and the support you've given my family and I the last three seasons will not soon be forgotten. Your support and your passion is what drives this city and I can't wait to one day celebrate a Cleveland Browns Championship with all of you. No matter where I play next, I will always be part of the Browns family."
A fixture in the Cleveland community, Hawkins hosted his Hawkins Christmas Takeover the past three years, a personally funded event to make special holiday memories for Cleveland-area children. Through his generosity, Hawkins provided gifts to more than 500 students and faculty in the Greater Cleveland Area during the holiday season, as well as helping finance a new computer lab at Walton School and providing large donations to the Cleveland Recreation Centers and Cleveland College Preparatory School.