|Bengals WR Andrew Hawkins caught 12 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns through the first three weeks. (AP)|
Bengals WR Andrew Hawkins has officially broken onto the NFL scene this year. A product of the University of Toledo, he swept floors, worked as a college coach, was cut by both the Browns and Rams and spent two years in the CFL before landing on the Cincinnati practice squad last season.
An injury to Jordan Shipley meant the younger brother of former Bengals cornerback Artrell Hawkins would work his way onto the 46-man active roster.
He finished the year with 23 receptions for 263 yards, also rushing five times for 25 yards. This year, the Bengals invested in Hawkins as the starting slot receiver and he's responded to become one of the primary playmakers among a deep, emerging receiving corps. He's ripped off touchdowns of 50 or more yards in back-to-back weeks while totaling 12 receptions for 208 yards this season.
No movies about his story are in the works yet, but it certainly would produce an engaging script.
Here are five questions with the Bengals' electric slot receiver:
Has life changed for you the last couple of weeks?
"I guess you could say so. A little bit. I haven't been used to it in good way. It really is a blessing. I never would've thought I would be to this point. I'm just going to keep doing it the way I've always done it, come in here and go to work and hope everything works out."
What has changed for you, were there any cool moments?
"There's been a lot of cool moments. Being interviewed on NFL Network was cool. Even to have guys that are doing the broadcast calling me and saying they're talking about me, the fact that they even know who I am is awesome to me. Santana Moss told me I was a good player before the game, and that's one of the guys I grew up idolizing as a smaller receiver. So little things like that are gems that I'll keep for a long time. It's definitely been awesome."
What are you doing with these game balls stacked up in your locker?
"I'll probably give them to my mom. I owe some to my older brother. Artrell won a game ball when I was younger and me my brothers took it and played backyard football with it, so I owe him one. Maybe I'll give it to him. I didn't know any better, I was 11."
Did you hear the Deion Sanders comment calling you one of the top emerging slot receivers in the NFL and what does it mean when he says that?
“I try not to check out any of TV or read the reports. I don't want to jump the gun. It is cool that Deion Sanders knows who I am. That's enough for me.”
Have you guys talked about how you're right where you want to be in the AFC North?
“I think the key, especially in the NFL, is taking it one week at a time. We were able to flush the Ravens loss and go into the Browns, go into the Redskins. The same way we flush losses we've got to flush wins and come out here ready to work and get ready for the Jaguars.”
Follow Paul Dehner Jr. for Bengals updates on Twitter @CBSBengals.