A fourth-round pick by Tennessee in 2008, Hawkins played five seasons with the Titans before splitting 2013 between several different clubs. Hawkins most recently spent the second half of last season with the San Diego Chargers, appearing in four games. Overall, he has played in 56 NFL games with four starts and hauled in 71 passes for 771 yards and one touchdown. The 5-11, 194-pound Hawkins has also seen action as a kickoff returner for both Tennessee and San Diego, averaging 23.2 yards on 22 career runbacks.
The signing of Hawkins comes just three days after the team traded wide receiver Mike Williams to the Buffalo Bills, but that is surely coincidental. The Bucs also recently signed former Giants wideout Louis Murphy as they continue to use the free agent market to add depth throughout the roster. With or without Williams, the Buccaneers would be looking for training camp competition at a position that is short on proven players behind starter
Hawkins' top season came in 2011, when he emerges as a solid second option behind Nate Washington after an injury to Kenny Britt. Hawkins caught 47 passes for 470 yards and a touchdown that season, all career highs, after which he got a contract extension from the Titans. However, he was released in May of last year, ending up first with the New England Patriots and then with the San Francisco 49ers for most of training camp and the preseason. The 49ers did not keep Hawkins on their active roster for the regular season, however, and he later signed in San Diego on October 2.
WR Lavelle Hawkins had a career-high 47 catches for the Titans in 2011
Hawkins played his college football at Cal under Jeff Tedford, the Buccaneers' new offensive coordinator. He saw action in 35 games during his three-year tenure with the Golden Bears, finishing his collegiate career as the 10th-leading receiver in school history (136 receptions for 1,748 yards and 12 touchdowns). Hawkins' peaked in his 2007 senior season with a team-leading 72 catches for 872 yards and six touchdowns. He hails from Stockton, California.
Hawkins is the 13th unrestricted free agent the Buccaneers have signed since the start of the new league year on March 11. The other 12 are Murphy, tackle
The Buccaneers also released linebacker