"In my mind, I'm still the kid that graduated college and was working at a factory to try to pay the rent, because he wanted to play football."
From paying his own way as a freshman at Toledo, to a tryout with the Cleveland Browns that went nowhere, followed by failed tryouts with the CFL and arena league teams, Hawkins' road to football success was a long one.
Michael Irvin's reality show "Fourth and Long" came along and ... Hawkins was the runner-up.
Hawkins then signed with the Montreal Alouettes for two years before joining with the St. Louis Rams ... and then the NFL lockout hit.
But finally, Hawkins had his day in the NFL ... and it was literally just that -- he lasted one day with the Rams before they cut him.
Eventually, the Bengals claimed him off waivers, giving him another opportunity, and he has made the most of it, catching three touchdowns in nine games in 2012. He's third on the team in both receptions and receiving yards.
Hawkins' journey and upbringing showed him what's really important, giving back, which he does at the Society of St. Vincent DePaul.
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