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Hawkins tackles boot camp before training camp

Talk with Artrell Hawkins and you'll notice instantly that the man has some deep pipes.

We're talking Barry White-deep.

In fact, during a game here at Gillette Stadium last season, the network broadcast team joked throughout the afternoon about Hawkins' uncanny vocal resemblance to the late love-song crooner.

They even said he probably could earn himself a job like theirs once he retires from playing.

Hawkins might have heard them. Or maybe he had the same idea all along. In any event, he's taking his post-football career opportunities seriously.

Not that the Patriots safety is ready to hang up his cleats just yet. He's no doubt focused on this season's training camp, which begins three weeks from tomorrow. But recently, Hawkins joined several other players, including former Patriots lineman Ross Tucker (now with Washington), for the first-ever NFL Broadcast Boot Camp.

Held at NFL Films headquarters in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, the three-day course offered the players a chance not only to see what it takes to produce network-quality TV programming, but also to test their on-camera skills.

They even went off-site to get some experience as field reporters. Hawkins had to write his own 30-second script and then read it on-camera as if he were doing a live report.

"Script writing was one of the more helpful things we did, but it was more difficult," he said of the experience afterwards. "It's easy to recount facts but it's a little bit harder to be creative. So I thought it was good that it exercised our minds and got us thinking outside the box."

To learn more about what Hawkins went through during NFL Broadcast Boot Camp, check out the complete story on NFLPLayers.com.

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