A diehard Eagles fan says goodbye to a legend
When I was approached to write this blog entry by my friend and colleague, Scott Jacobs of Juiced Sports, I thought to myself there is no way I could get through it without breakdown in tears. I decided, however, that this entry would be a good form of therapy. Scott asked me to write this as I am both a die-hard Eagle fan of almost my whole existence (I’m 20) and just as important, Brian Dawkins has been my idol since I was nine years old.
When I was in 7th Grade, I was asked if I could be like any person I had never met, who would I be? When I replied Indiana Jones, my teacher explained it had to be a real person. Without even thinking I shot back “Brian Dawkins.” That is how I believe most die-hard, green-bleeding Philadelphia Eagles would respond. The only difference was I that I was in a South Florida classroom, seven years removed from being a mid-New Jersey resident. I truly did not care that no one knew what I was talking about and was proud of that fact. Brian Dawkins is someone that every person should want to emulate.
I remember the day we drafted the some-what skinny safety from Clemson in 1997, because I had missed the 1st round selection of Jon Harris (eck!) of Virginia. Dawkins was fiery from the start, but never significantly stuck out till the team hired Jim Johnson as coordinator.
With Johnson, Troy Vincent, and Hugh Douglas, Dawkins made the Eagles a defensive power-house. The team had the offensive guidance of a youngster from Syracuse in Donovan McNabb and the greatest Secondary in what I believe is NFC East history. Dawkins became the heart and soul of the team never stopped through five NFC Championships and a Super Bowl loss. I believe most of the reason Eagles fans haven’t gone suicidal is because of Dawkins backing of Andy Reid and Donovan.
A role model’s Role Model. Dawkins’ 5 year contract with the Broncos is the worst loss in Philadelphia Eagles’ history, no doubt.
At the beginning of this season, Dawkins struggled but still maintained his leadership over the team. Dawkins soon rebounded and single-handedly beat the current Super Bowl champs, the Steelers, an image that will forever highlight Dawkins’ career and Eagle lore. Dawkins led the Defense to ranking among the top five units of the league and willed his team to the NFC Championship game after losing tremendously to the Ravens.
At the start of the offseason, I must admit I thought there was less than 1% chance that Dawkins would not wear green next season. When the buzzer went off Friday, I have a feeling his time was done. I cannot put into words how upset I have been the last few days. I held back tears at work when I found out and I have been ever since.
Dawkins was not only one of the top three safeties in the league but he is also the greatest leader in the league. Unlike other team’s leaders, Dawkins never got into a fist fight with a teammate (Steve Smith) or witness a murder (Ray Lewis), he is a man of faith and principle.
A role model’s Role Model. Dawkins’ 5 year contract with the Broncos is the worst loss in Philadelphia Eagles’ history, no doubt. The loss in the Super bowl to the Pats, the recent NFC loss to the Cards, and T.O. were not even close.
I love Brian Dawkins and wish him well. I tried to put blame on Andy Reid, Joe Banner, and Tom Heckert but I can’t: five years plus a 35 year old equals crazy. Do I wish Dawkins was still an Eagle, more than anything. But what is done is done. The Broncos got not only our heart and soul but they also got maybe the best back up on our team in Correll Buckhalter. The Eagles are significantly at a loss. I would not blame Donovan if he wants a trade, as a matter a fact I think we need to start over.
I wouldn’t honestly be surprised if B-Dawk gets into Josh McDaniels’ ear about Super Five and we see Jay Cutler wearing green next year. It makes sense to me. I grew up a Syracuse fan and even I think it’s time to let Don go. I don’t think it would be that devastating, considering my favorite player ever just had a news conference that I made 14 seconds into before stopping it. I thought I was going to throw-up. No Dawkins means no faith in a Super Bowl for me.
My Plan for the 2009 Philadelphia Eagles:
- Trade Donovan for Cutler and a 6th round pick.
- Trade Kevin “I’ll never be a starter” Kolb for a 4th rounder (cut our losses)
- Sign Patrick Ramsey (Cutler’s former back-up, and former Redskin)
- Trade one or two of our three 5th round picks for Oakland’s Michael Bush.
- Draft OT Eben Britton of Arizona and Oklahoma State’s Brandon Pettigrew with the two first rounders.
- Unfortunately this draft class is not stocked with safeties to replace an irreplaceable player, but take either Louis Delmas of Eastern Michigan or William Moore of Missouri in the 2nd round.
- This is all good and well but still will never replace #20, Brian Dawkins, the Greatest Person in Philadelphia Eagles’ History.
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