As it should be, no one will ever wear No. 20 in Eagles history again.
The Eagles will retire Brian Dawkins' No. 20 during the nationally televised showdown against the New York Giants on Sept. 30.
Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Lurie made the announcement Saturday morning as Dawkins signed a one-day ceremonial contract to officially retire a member of the Eagles.
"We’re going to retire forever Brian Dawkins’ number 20," Lurie said. "I hope the whole nation gets to see it because there is none better, and there never has been.
"I think for all of us and the city of Philadelphia with all of our fans, the teammates, the coaches, he epitomized and epitomizes everything we love about the sport. It’s hard to put into words and it’s hard to encapsulate in one player the intensity, the passion, the love of the game, the appreciation of how special it was to be able to play the game at the highest possible level with a group of other teammates."
The Eagles welcomed Dawkins back to the family in a style befitting of one of the greatest players in franchise history. Dawkins, himself, did not know the Eagles planned on retiring his number.
"I didn’t know. That’s not the norm, not everywhere. If it happened it happened, if it did not I couldn’t be sour about it because, once again, I’m going to take you back to that point that I keep saying. I played in the National Football League for the Philadelphia Eagles. Ownership was there for me. As much a part of me probably would want to do that, I would let that other part of me that understands how blessed I am to beat that down and put it in its proper place," Dawkins said.
"The Philadelphia Eagles – they’ve been in existence for a long time and a lot of people have worn that number throughout that time. To know that now, because of the way the Lord blessed me to play this game, nobody will ever wear it again. That’s an honor, what an honor."
Dawkins was joined by his former teammates and current Eagles which included Donovan McNabb, David Akers, Correll Buckhalter, Jeremiah Trotter, Ike Reese, Tra Thomas, Jamaal Jackson,
Upon entering the NovaCare Complex auditorium for the official retirement press conference, a phenomenal highlight video of Dawkins' greatest plays, huddle breakdowns and chants inspired those in the audience and showcased why the future Hall of Fame safety was so beloved in Philadelphia.
Head coach Andy Reid took the stage and congratulated Dawkins on his brilliant career before Dawkins spoke. It didn't take long before Dawkins brought up the late Jim Johnson, whose widow, Vicky, was also in attendance. Dawkins shed tears as he thanked Johnson for believing in him.
"He saw something in me and began to use me in a different way than a lot of safeties were being used at the time. He believed in me," Dawkins said. "The thing that I’ve always carried and always been as a player is a person who didn’t want to disappoint his coaches and gentlemen, I didn’t want to disappoint y’all.
"Why did I play with so much emotion? Why did I do all of that? Because I loved to do what I do and I loved playing with my teammates. I loved playing for them. In Jim, I found that individual that believed in me to use me. When the game was on the line, the reason that I made so many big plays in crunch time is because Jim continued to call my number in crunch time. He knew I would do whatever it took and I would give up my body parts if I had to just to make sure his blitzes went on. I can thank him for that."
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