Brian Dawkins Announces Retirement from NFL After 16 Seasons

Field Yates@FieldYatesCorrespondent IIIApril 23, 2012

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 20:  Safety Brian Dawkins #20 of the Denver Broncos storms out of the tunnel and smoke before a game against the Buffalo Bills at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 20, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Brian Dawkins, one of the few players remaining from the 1996 NFL draft class, has announced his retirement after 16 seasons.

Originally a second-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles out of Clemson, Dawkins enjoyed one of the most decorated careers for a safety of his era, earning nine Pro Bowl bids, six All-Pro selections and being named a member of the NFL's All-Decade team for the 2000s.

Dawkins spent the first 13 seasons of his career with the Eagles, where he became the heart and soul of a defense that helped Philadelphia reach four NFC championship games and a Super Bowl.  He was known for his heart, passion and hard-hitting ability in his compact frame.

He moved on from the Eagles as a free agent in 2009, spending the final three seasons in his career with the Denver Broncos.  His respect followed him, and Dawkins become an immediate presence in the Broncos locker room and a fan favorite in the Mile High City.

Injuries slowed Dawkins during his final two seasons, but he remained effective, earning a Pro Bowl nod in his final campaign on the gridiron.

He finishes with career marks of 1,131 tackles, 37 INTs, and 26.0 sacks.  

Dawkins had this to say about his retirement (via his Twitter account):

The Lord has blessed me to play in the NFL for 16 years. I would like to thank the Eagles & the Broncos 4 believing In me. I would like 2 thank all my teammates & Coaches that I have been blessed 2 go to battle with. Along with u, the fans 4 helping make my career 1 that i have enjoyed tremendously. In other words. I am announcing my retirement from the NFL. #BBTB