Hawkins brings Madden flair to Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Delaware cornerback Travis Hawkins is a long shot to make the New England Patriots' roster, but at the least, he’ll have moments like these to forever cherish. Hawkins emerged from the tunnel at Gillette Stadium on Thursday afternoon, stepped on to the field for the first time while looking at the blue and red seats in the facility with a capacity of 68,756, and shook his head.

“Madden is a game you grow up playing, and I always used the Patriots, and now that I’m with the Patriots it’s crazy,” he said.

Hawkins, who ran a sub 4.4 time in the 40-yard dash, hopes it’s a long-term fit. He also knows, as an undrafted free agent, that he faces an uphill climb.

Like many others who grew up over the past decade, the 23-year-old Hawkins usually picked the Patriots when firing up his Madden game.

“They always had a good wide receiving corps and I like to throw the ball,” he said with a chuckle.

Of course, Hawkins now has no time for Madden. He’s focused on his work with the Patriots, and after five days with the club, it’s an intense grind.

“It’s tough being a rookie. I just want to get around guys to teach me about the roots of being a Patriot,” he said.

An all-conference pick last season at Delaware, he knows special teams are crucial for him.

“I played a lot of special teams in college and that's something I feel like will give me the best opportunity to play here,” he said, adding that he was a gunner and kickoff returner for the Fighting Blue Hens.