Bengals wide receiver Andrew Hawkins, or "Fresh Legs" as he's known around Paul Brown Stadium these days, practiced for the first time in 83 days Wednesday and is eligible to play in the Halloween Night game in Miami a week from Thursday.
Hawkins won't speculate if he'd be active for the game, but he figures whatever advantage he has if he plays is countered by his time on the shelf with a severely sprained ankle.
"I don't think you get that much of an advantage," Hawkins said before Thursday's practice. "In one aspect I guess (fresh legs) would be an advantage. In another aspect they have eight games under their belt and this is my first game, preseason or not. It goes both ways."
Hawkins tipped his hat to rehab trainer Nick Cosgray ("I can't tell you how good he is"), and says it's a process that has some milestones before he's ready for a game.
"It's getting to the point where you're just letting it go," he said. "That's a milestone and from there I'm comfortable on the practice field and I'm able to take it to the game. It's a little bit of a process."
But he's encouraged how the ankle bounced back Thursday morning and while he had some soreness throughout his body, Hawkins said there was nothing "alarming" since it was expected after not practicing for three months.
He's getting ready to join a corps that is much deeper than the one he left. He finished last season as Cincinnati's second-leading wide receiver to
Two of them are tight ends, one is a running back and two are wide receivers;
"If I didn't bring anything to the table I wouldn't be here," he said. "We all have something we're good at. That's why we're here.
"It's exciting. These guys are my brothers. I can't say how happy I am. It's cool to see. It's something you want to be a part of. My thing is I'll do whatever I'm asked to do. I feel like when I'm ready to go, I can help. That's how all the receivers are. They're making the plays when their number is called whether it's Week 1, 2, 3, 4. Hopefully I can keep it going."
The Bengals have three weeks from this past Wednesday to make a call on Hawkins for the rest of the year. They are expected to put cornerback
Hawkins ended up on injured reserve-recall when he went diving for a ball in an Aug. 1 practice. Asked if he dove for a ball Wednesday, he could only offer the lesson learned but he still vowed to keep diving.
"There's a time and a place," he said.
SLANTS AND SCREENS: Cornerback
With word that the Jets game is a sellout, the Bengals are now looking at their next home game, Nov. 17, against Cleveland, and early indications are that the club is encouraged that it has a shot at keeping the season's sellout streak intact.