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Now-retired Andrew Hawkins to donate his brain to CTE research

(Ron Schwane/AP)

Andrew Hawkins, the receiver who announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday after a six-year career, will donate his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation for research related to chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

“I love the game of football, it has changed my life,” Hawkins in a statement. “My father, my older brother, and two cousins all played in the NFL. Knowing my kids and nephews are all going to play the game, I owe it to football to help make it better. I think all of us players owe it to the game. That’s why I’m supporting this research.”

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Hawkins had signed a one-year deal with the Patriots in May after three years with the Bengals and the Browns.

The Concussion Legacy Foundation is a part of a partnership between the Boston University School of Medicine and the VA Boston Healthcare System to research CTE. Since 2008, more than 1,900 former athletes and military veterans have donated their brain to research.

Hawkins’s retirement and brain donation announcement came on the heels of BU’s latest CTE study, which was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study found that 177 of the 202 brains, all former football players, showed signs of CTE. Of the 111 brains of former NFL players included in the study, 110 of them showed signs of CTE.

Browns receiver Kenny Britt tweeted about the study on Tuesday, expressing frustration that player contracts are not guaranteed despite the health risks they face.

Former Florida State and NFL quarterback Danny Kanell expressed skepticism about the study on Twitter.

The NFL released a statement on the study, saying it is a benefit for further CTE research.

“The medical and scientific communities will benefit from this publication, and the NFL will continue to work with a wide range of experts to improve the health of current and former NFL athletes,” the statement read. “The NFL is committed to supporting scientific research into CTE and advancing progress in the prevention and treatment of head injuries.”

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Follow Rachel G. Bowers on Twitter @RachelGBowers.