The Eagles will honor Brian Dawkins on September 30 in front of the fans at Lincoln Financial Field in a nationally televised game on NBC against the New York Giants.
"Brian Dawkins is one of my all-time favorite players and one of the best to ever put on an Eagles uniform," Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Lurie said. "On the field, in many ways, Brian re-invented the safety position. He had the speed and athleticism to line up against the game’s best receivers, and was equally effective in the run game. His love for the game was infectious and he poured his entire heart and soul into everything he was doing from the moment he entered the stadium until he left. Everyone who ever watched Brian play saw that and it was impossible not to love that about him. He was one of the best leaders to ever play here."
One of the most popular and respected players in franchise history, Dawkins was the spearhead of the Eagles defense for 13 seasons. Selected in the second round in 1996, the speedy and torch-minded defensive back earned a starting role in just the second game of his rookie campaign and never looked back. He finished his Eagles career in 2008 as the franchise’s all-time leader in games played (183) and interceptions (34), while earning seven Pro Bowl berths, five All-Pro selections and averaging nearly 100 tackles per year along the way. Only Chuck Bednarik made more trips to the Pro Bowl in an Eagles uniform.
"Off the field, it is no secret that Brian was a fan-favorite. But as much as the fans loved him, I can tell you that he loved them back with equal intensity," Lurie said. "His transformation from a mild-mannered, humble man during the week to an energized, ferocious, spark plug on gamedays was evidence of that. We have been working with Brian for a few weeks and look forward to honoring him in front of our fans as one of the greatest Eagles ever when we play the Giants on September 30th.”
A consummate leader on and off the field, Dawkins earned a spot on the NFL’s All-Decade team from 2000-09 and appeared in 18 playoff games with the Eagles, which is the most in franchise annals. He was also voted by the fans as the starting safety on the Eagles 75th anniversary team in 2007. He spent the last three years of his career (2009-11) with the Denver Broncos, earning his eighth Pro Bowl nomination in 2009, which is tied for third-most in NFL history among safeties.
"The NFL will miss a player as talented, ferocious, and determined as Brian Dawkins," head coach Andy Reid said. "He was one of the most dedicated and hardest working players I have ever coached. Whether it was on the practice field, the film room or the weight room, Brian always put in the extra hours it took to become the star player that he was. And he transferred all of that and more onto the field on Sundays. He poured everything he could into doing whatever was best for his teammates and this organization. He was the unquestioned leader of our defense. He will go down as one of the greatest Eagles of all-time and I have no doubt we’ll be celebrating his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I wish he, his wife Connie, and his family all of the best during the next phase of their lives."
The 38-year-old Dawkins finished his epic 16-year career tied with Paul Krause and Eugene Robinson for the most NFL seasons played at the safety position. His 26 career sacks rank third in league annals among defensive backs and he is one of just five players to record at least 30 interceptions and 20 sacks in a career. In addition, his 42 career forced fumbles rank fifth in the NFL record books and are the most ever by a defensive back. Dawkins notched a streak of 15 consecutive seasons with an interception from 1996-2010, the fourth-longest streak ever. He appeared in 224 games (221 starts) in his career, amassing 1,527 tackles, 37 interceptions, 26 sacks, 42 forced fumbles and 17 fumble recoveries.
A quiet and humble man off the field, Dawkins completely transformed on gameday into one of the most fierce and energetic players to ever occupy a secondary. He was well-known by fans for his "Wolverine” alter-ego and kept a collection of figurines of the popular comic book hero at his locker, many of which were provided by fans.
As successful as he was on the field, Dawkins made his mark in the Philadelphia community as well. Some of his community endeavors included serving as a spokesman for the Burn Prevention Foundation and the American Diabetes Association. In addition, every year during Thanksgiving and Christmas, Brian and his family brought cheer to various women’s shelters, aiding nearly 100 families annually with gift cards to purchase food. He was a recipient of the Byron "Whizzer” White NFL Man of the Year Award in 2008, which is given out annually by the NFLPA to honor the player that best served his team, community, and country in the spirit of Byron White, who was a professional football player, Supreme Court Justice and humanitarian. He was also named a finalist for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award that same year.
Dawkins and his wife, Connie, were high-school sweethearts and have known each other since they were 15 years old. They have four children: son, Brian, Jr., daughter, Brionni, and twin daughters Chonni and Cionni.
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