The NFL and the NFL Players Association agreed to a new IR rule change last year that allows one player (per team) to be activated from the IR list. Before the this rule was passed, any player that was placed on the IR list was not eligible to play again for the same team in that season.
Once a player is put on the IR, he is out for the season. That is, unless he is the one player designed to return to practice. That designated player is eligible to return to practice if he has been on the IR list for at least six weeks from the date he was placed on Reserve. He is eligible to return to the active list if he has been on the IR list for at least eight weeks from the date he is placed on IR.
Hawkins was projected to compete with second-year WR Mohamed Sanu to be the starting slot receiver.
Despite missing two games last season due to a knee injury, Hawkins still finished the 2012 season ranked third on the team in both receptions (51) and receiving yards (533). He also had four TD catches, including one of 59 and one of 50 yards.