“I lost a sister this summer to a heroin overdose,” Hawkins said Friday. “She had been clean for two to three years, doing an incredible job. Talked to her regularly, but the one relapse cost her her life.
“It was something I didn’t see coming and it kind of opens your eyes up to what addiction is like. It’s not a black-and-white situation. It’s not cut-and-dried and it’s important for Josh to take this step and try and figure it out.
“It’s a hard road and he understands that. But football isn’t important right now.”
Hawkins’ sister, Lucia Young, was 30 when she died in Pennsylvania in June.
Gordon released a statement Thursday that he was going to enter inpatient rehab, although it’s not known for what substance. The Browns supported the decision, but coach Hue Jackson said the team would move on without Gordon.
Hawkins said he believes Gordon understands that rehab is “the most important thing,” far more important than football.
“Him being a good receiver isn’t going to save his life 20 years from now,” Hawkins said. “Him coming back to help the Cleveland Browns in 2016 isn’t going to help him in 2025 if he’s still dealing with these same issues, so I’m sincere in what he’s doing is important.
“I pray for the best for him and I’m here for him no matter what.”