Philadelphia Eagles

The Brian Dawkins Retirement Tour

The NFL career of former Eagles/Broncos safety Brian Dawkins came to an end nearly a week ago.

Since hanging up his cleats and emotive screams, Dawkins has been busy. He retired as an Eagle on Saturday and held his farewell press conference with many ex-teammates in attendance including Donovan McNabb.

Hours later, Dawkins threw out the first pitch prior to a Phillies 5-2 win over the Chicago Cubs.

I’ll have mixed emotions about Dawkins’s career in Philadelphia. He’s a borderline Hall of Fame player (he’s not a first ballot guy as some would suggest but was one of the premier defenders over the last decade) and easily one of the most popular Eagles of all-time.

His on-field intensity and passion were unrivaled for the Eagles. He was an intimidating factor for Philadelphia’s defense, which was one of the main reasons why the team was so successful from 2000 to 2004.

Ah, about that success.

The reason why I have mixed emotions is based off of Philadelphia’s futility in NFC title games and of course, Super Bowl XXXIX.

I watched a tribute video to Dawkins that aired on NFL Network and it was a sobering reminder about what could have been. Why you ask?

Most of the highlights were not from playoff games. Yes, there was the Favre interception during the 4th & 26 game and his bone-rattling hit of Alge Crumpler during the ’04 NFC title game.

Conversely, I also think about Corey Dillon dragging him around in Super Bowl XXXIX; or Marshall Faulk running over the Birds in the ’01 NFC Championship game; or Tampa.

Despite the disappointing memories, how important was Dawkins to Philadelphia’s secondary?

Since his departure following the 2008 season, the secondary dramatically regressed.

Dawkins brought a level of leadership and passion to Philadelphia that is obviously missing from today’s bunch.

Until the Eagles find that similar x-factor, it’ll be difficult for them to get back to the Super Bowl.

Thanks for the memories B-Dawk.

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