RICHMOND — On Dec. 2, 2007, Travis Hawkins found his seat at FedEx Field for the Washington Redskins’ game against the Buffalo Bills. A lifelong fan, Hawkins took in the atmosphere, more somber that Sunday. It was the game after Sean Taylor died.
“That was my favorite player growing up,” Hawkins said. “They came out with 10 players and honored him for the first play. I thought that was really cool and special for them to do.”
The Rockville native and longtime Redskins fan is looking forward to returning to FedEx Field on Thursday. Picked up by the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent defensive back, Hawkins said his family and friends will be dispersed throughout the stadium for the teams’ first preseason game, and he expects family to also watch him participate in joint preseason practices with the Redskins in Richmond this week.
“Just being picked up by New England and then knowing I could come home and play against the Redskins, who my family grew up watching and who I grew up watching, I’m blessed,” Hawkins said. “I feel blessed that I have been given this opportunity to keep playing football. I’m glad to be back home, and I know I’m going to have some fans and family at the game, so it’s going to be good.”
He only went to that one Redskins game growing up, too busy with football to find the time to attend more. He’s played in just one NFL stadium – the Baltimore Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium – when his Quince Orchard High football team played for the state championship. He said playing at FedEx Field will be even better.
Hawkins chose Maryland over Oregon for college, but after a new coaching regime came in, he transferred to Delaware. He was an all-conference cornerback, tallying 168 tackles, eight interceptions and 20 pass breakups as a Blue Hen.
Hawkins averaged 27.4 yards on nine kickoff returns with one touchdown at Delaware, and he took reps for the Patriots returning kicks on Monday.
“It’s pretty crazy being out here and practicing against guys who I grew up watching,” Hawkins said.
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The Redskins’ second joint practice with the New England Patriots on Monday is at 4:10 p.m. Here’s our camp guide, if you’re planning to attend.
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