While acknowledging a potential role as a safety in Jim Johnson's defense if he were to sign in Philadelphia, free-agent defensive back Shawn Springs says by no means could he replace a Brian Dawkins.
"He's a guy that will never ever be replaced in Philly," Springs said during his mid-day media availability on Wednesday. "I think he's going to always be a part of this community. Brian Dawkins is one of those guys you could actually see in a Denver uniform and still think he's an Eagle. I have a lot of respect for him even more as a person than as a football player. He's a great man."
Released by the Redskins in a salary-cap move, Springs is looking for a new home. He visited New England and hinted that a trip to New Orleans could be next. With the free agent departures of Dawkins and Sean Considine, coupled with the trade of Lito Sheppard, the team is somewhat thin in the secondary. Hence the reason for Springs' visit.
Philadelphia is attractive for a number reasons, including the presence of Johnson, who was the linebackers coach in Seattle when Springs was drafted by the Seahawks in 1997.
"I always liked his system," Springs said. "When I played for Washington, I was all over the field. I wasn't a full-time safety, but we had a lot of packages where I was like a safety."
The 6-foot, 204-pound Springs played in nine games last season, including seven starts, and recorded 36 tackles, one interception and seven passes defensed in playing against the likes of Arizona's Anquan Boldin and Dallas' Terrell Owens. Springs picked off 12 passes, notched seven sacks and recorded 250 tackles in his five seasons with the Redskins.
A 12-year veteran, Springs has collected 32 career interceptions and earned a Pro Bowl appearance following the 1998 season. In 2004, he became the first defensive back in NFL history to lead his team in sacks (6) and interceptions (5).
|Shawn Springs' Career Statistics|
|ADDITIONAL CAREER STATISTICS|
|SPECIAL TEAMS TACKLES: 17 – 1998 (2), 1999 (3), 2000 (3), 2003 (3), 2005 (6)|
|CAREER HIGHS: Tackles13, INTs2, Long56T, Sacks2.0|