The team on Monday terminated the contract of the veteran slot receiver after three seasons with the franchise, per the club's official website.
"As of today, I am officially a former Cleveland Brown," Hawkins said. "Flew to Cleveland last week, met with the team. It was a tough call, but at the end of the day, just felt it was in the best interest of all that we move on. So, I want to thank the Cleveland Browns for not only understanding my situation and where I am in my career, but also giving me the opportunity to wear the storied orange and brown over the last three seasons."
Hawkins called coach Hue Jackson one of the "best coaches in all of football" and praised team owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam and executive VP of Football Operations Sashi Brown.
"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."
The 30-year-old pass-catcher started 28 games for the Browns over three seasons, hauling in 123 balls for 1,424 yards and five touchdowns. He found himself in a crowded house heading into next autumn, though, with Cleveland housing first-rounder Corey Coleman, hoping to re-sign Terrelle Pryor and developing a flock of second-year targets including Rashard Higgins, Jordan Payton and Ricardo Louis. Until Pryor is signed, however, not a single Browns wideout has more than a year of pro experience.
We fully expect another club to give Hawkins a tryout, but it's hardly a surprise to see him parting ways with the Browns.
Other transaction we're tracking:
- The Panthers signed defensive end Wes Horton to a two-year contract on Monday. The undrafted 27-year-old has 8.5 sacks over 45 games in Carolina and gives the team a nice touch of depth along the line.