We will all miss Brian Dawkins. Since his 1996 debut with the Philadelphia Eagles, B-Dawk has embodied the pulse of Philadelphia. The “undersized” safety played with heart and emotion, from the opening introductions until the final second ticked off the game clock. His pre-game introduction, undoubtedly frenzied the stadium and every fan inside whether at the Vet of the Link. His bone crushing hits were a mainstay and his annual charity golf tournament in the area raised money and awareness for the Burn Prevention Foundation in the Philadelphia Area. The seven time Pro Bowler was a leader in the locker room and a pleasure to watch at press conferences. Weapon X was no doubt a fan favorite and arguably the best Philadelphia Eagles in the history of a franchise that claim such defensive greats as Reggie White, Jerome Brown, Chuck Bednarick, Tom Brookshier, Bill Bergey, Andre Waters and Mike Golic.
We all love Dawkins, but it is time to move on. All weekend, you could not turn of sports talk radio or even walk into your local Wawa, without hearing some drama queen ranting about how they cannot watch the Eagles ever again or are going out to get a #20 Broncos jersey.
Let’s face it, this is nothing new. The Eagles have a history of letting the greats (or future greats) walk (Reggie White, Clyde Simmons, Hugh Douglass). When it comes to players in the secondary, however, they have been spot on with their decisions to not re-sign defensive backs. After the 2003 season, the Eagles bid farewell to the CB tandem of Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent, leading the way for future two time Pro Bowler Lito Sheppard and the hard hitting Sheldon Brown. Taylor and Vincent, when on the combine for 1 full season after leaving Philadelphia. I do not believe this will happen with Dawkins and certainly do not wish upon him, but he’s 35 years old.
Yes, the Eagles had the cap room to match or top the Denver Broncos $7.2 million guarantee for 2 years but the Eagles must see something in Quinten Demps and Quinten Mikell. This year both had shown promise at the safety positions. This year for Dawkins was one of the best we’ve seen from him, but there has been a decline in his production in previous seasons and he has lost a step in coverage.
Brain’s quote this weekend just goes to show what a classy guy he is:
"I've just got to thank them. For so many years, we obviously connected on a very deep basis," Dawkins said the day after he left his only NFL home for 13 seasons to sign with the Denver Broncos. "For so many years, they've allowed me to come into their living rooms, to laugh with them, to party with them, to celebrate with them, to cry with 'em through tough losses, to bleed with them. I just really appreciate the way they accepted me, a little safety from Clemson."
Don’t get me wrong, B-Dawk is and may always be my favorite Eagle of all-time. He’s fun to watch and it is painful to see him walk. I cannot question to Eagles for this non-move, though; the track record speaks for itself (with the exception of Reggie White). Weapon X will be greatly missed and I wish him the best of luck in Denver. The Eagles are slated to play Denver at home this year and I will no doubt do everything in my power to be at the game to give Dawkins his deserved appreciation. Once that clock starts, I hope he is rendered utterly unproductive…I am an Eagles fan first and a Dawkins fan second!