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Friday, October 25, 2013
Morning Stripes: Andrew Hawkins returns

By Coley Harvey

It's all about patience this season for Cincinnati Bengals receiver Andrew Hawkins.

He learned that lesson after suffering an awkward ankle injury Aug. 1 while stretching out for a pass in practice. At the time the injury occurred, he wasn't sure how long it would keep him off the field. A day? A week? A month? Three months? He had to wait until the trainers could properly diagnose it.

Eventually, he found out he would in fact be gone nearly three months, shelved while he rehabbed and worked on his conditioning while on the injured reserve/designated-for-return list. Patience.

In that time, he watched as his pass-catching teammates grew into one of the more diverse and versatile receiving units in the league. He may have wanted to join them, but he knew he had to be fully healthy and in complete shape before he could. Patience.

There were milestones during Hawkins' comeback that he had to hit, too. Like any player who has gone through a major injury, he had to purge his mind of thoughts about aggravating or reinjuring it at some point during his rehab or return. He had to get beyond the injury itself and renew his focus to where it was before he went down. He knew that would take time. Patience.

As he acknowledged earlier this week when he spoke with reporters in Cincinnati about his comeback, Hawkins isn't quite there yet. But he will be soon. Per rules of the IR's designated-to-return list, he can play again starting next week when the Bengals travel to Miami. While he wasn't sure whether he would be ready for that game, the possibility of him playing and contributing certainly does exist.

To kick off Friday's Morning Stripes, we look a little further at Hawkins' return: