Andrew Hawkins tells the story of his unique path to the NFL

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  • By Ralph Warner
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Not every NFL player goes to a big D-I school, receives national acclaim, and is selected in the Draft in April. Many of the over 1,600 players in the league have amazing stories of perseverance on their long journey to the NFL. At the beginning of the season we told you about Raiders' kicker Giorgio Tavecchio who had been to six training camps before finally getting the call to join Oakland's roster. This week, former wide receiver Connie Hawkins shared his own story of a Facebook conversation where he tried to get connected with current Rams head coach Sean McVay from 2009..

Hawkins was a two-way player (WR and CB) and played four years at the University of Toledo, but the undersized (5-foot-7, 180 pounds) wideout was not selected in the 2008 NFL Draft. In 2009 Hawkins was playing for the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League. Hawkins was a part of the Alouettes' back-to-back Grey Cup championship teams in 2009 and 2010.

Despite his success in the CFL, Hawkins still had a desire to make his NFL dream come true. That determination to make it led to him doing things like trying to reach out to McVay and competing on Michael Irvin's football reality show, 4th and Long.

Hawkins also spoke of a funny interaction with Giants interim coach Steve Spagnuolo, who was head coach of the Rams when Hawkins was on the practice team in 2011.

After being waived by the Rams, Hawkins signed with the Bengals and made his debut on October 2, 2011 in a game against the Buffalo Bills. Hawkins would spend six seasons in the NFL, playing for the Bengals and Browns before retiring in July of this year.

Many considered Hawkins "too small" and he had seemingly insurmountable odds stacked against him, but the 5-foot-7 WR did everything in his power to make his gridiron dream come to fruition.

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