Just a quick little note here, this article should have been published a week ago, but I guess, due to some technical difficulties, it didn't.
Since being drafted 61st overall in the 1996 NFL Draft, Brian Dawkins has been the heart and soul of the Philadelphia Eagles defense. He is one of the most popular sports figures in the history of Philadelphia. Now, for the first time in 13 years, Brian Dawkins will strap up every Sunday wearing a different jersey.
Two weeks ago, Dawkins signed a five-year, $17 million contract with the Denver Broncos. Fans, infuriated with the fact the Eagles front office failed to offer Dawk a reasonable contract, will be forced to eat, sleep, and breathe Eagles football without their emotional leader.
Dawkins will be remembered for his play on the field, as well as his motivational speeches. Before each game, Dawkins gathers all of his teammates in the secondary and delivers a fiery speech to get them going. While he was quite the speaker, B-Dawk was also a great entertainer.
On Sunday’s, when the Eagles defense would be introduced, the entire crowd looked forward to seeing how Brian would make his entrance. Some times he would do a somersault, sometimes it would be a little dance followed be flexing his muscles, or just a primal scream before being greeted by his teammates.
One thing people will never question about Dawkins is his intensity.
No player, aside from Ray Lewis, exemplifies the leadership on and off the field every day than Dawkins. He takes young rookies under his wing every season. He’s helped mold Eagles’ strong safety Quintin Mikell into a Pro Bowl caliber player.
While choking back tears in an interview, Mikell said of Dawkins, "I feel like I've learned so much from him, but I feel like no one is ever done learning,when you are done learning, you're dead."
On the field Dawkins intensity resembled that of his favorite action-comic hero, Wolverine from X-Men. Monday through Saturday, he was a humble veteran strolling around the NovaCare Complex, but when that first whistle blew on game-day, he was a totally different animal, exploding with energy, flying around, and making plays.
Rich Hoffman, a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News writes, “ This guy isn’t just a football player, but a ferocious state of mind.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
His emotion, his style of play and the way he directed himself towards the fans is what makes him so beloved in the City of Brotherly Love. When the Broncos travel to Lincoln Financial Field in 2009, they will be bringing a piece of Philadelphia with them.