Philadelphia Eagles News

FS Brian Dawkins

On how good it feels to return to the practice field: "It felt really good to get back out there with the guys and to test the waters out, so to speak, with the knee and all that good stuff. Everything is fine. It was really just to get out there and sweat with the guys, that's the biggest thing."

On his impression of QB Donovan McNabb so far in camp: "We go against him, obviously, in team drills and non-contact live drills. He's putting the ball on point. His zip is where it needs to be, his deep ball has been great, and his movement, for me, is always the key for him. Even though it's not live on him, you still can see his footwork when he's able to avoid the blitzers who come through. For me, that's always a huge point in Donovan's game, because of the athlete he is on top of the arm he has and the quarterback he is."

On how much quicker the defense is this year: "If you just look at the athletes we are putting on the field, especially on third downs. Basically, we have all defensive ends on the field. At the tackle position, we have two defensive ends, so that's a lot of speed to have to deal with. On top of that, we're blitzing. With the guys we have in the secondary coming and then the speed at linebacker, that's a lot of speed to have to deal with. For us not to make mistakes, that's always a key in [defensive coordinator] Jim's [Johnson] scheme. There is a lot of speed on that field."

On how hard it is to develop chemistry in the secondary with CBs Asante Samuel and Lito Sheppard not practicing: "Lito can miss the rest of the camp [and it wouldn't matter]. I don't want him to, but our chemistry is great. I've been here with him for quite some time, as you all know. Asante is a little different. The thing we try to do in meetings, is when we see something and when he sees something, he's asking questions so that we can make sure we're on the same page. Once he gets on the field, he'll know how we're going to try to play it, and he'll let me know how he wants to play it. So, we'll be able to talk a little bit in the classroom. It's a little different on the field, as you all know, but we'll be able to do what we need to do."

On G Shawn Andrews: "Whatever is going on with him, hopefully he's able to come on back and help us hoist that trophy up at the end of the year."

On whether he has talked to Andrews and expects him to come to camp: "I don't know. I can't comment on him and what is going on with him, because I really don't know all the details. I hope he's okay and is able to come in and help us out."

On whether there is a point where he feels like somebody should talk to Andrews: "I've been in this game for 13 years and I've seen guys hold out for different reasons or miss practice for different reasons. This is nothing new. When he handles his situation, whatever his situation is, he'll come back and we'll play ball. That's the way it is and that's the way it always has been. I don't see that changing anytime soon. Guys have talked to him and those conversations are privy to them, and when we talk, our conversations will be privy to me and him. When he does come, he'll come and we'll play ball."

On whether there are questions in the locker room about why Andrews is missing camp: "Whatever happens inside the locker room, we handle those things inside the locker room. That's the way we've always done it. I don't see this being that type of an issue, to that extent. Whatever the case is, and like I said, none of us knows the true situation of what's going on with him. When we all find that out, we'll deal with whatever needs to be dealt with. For me, what needs to be dealt with is to get in here, make sure he's fine, make sure he's healthy, make sure everything is good with him and get him in here so we can play some ball."

On whether it bothers players that they are out here practicing and Andrews is not here: "We handle what we can handle. What we can handle is playing on the football field. When we get on that football field, we practice; I'm giving all I can for the guy next to me and vice versa. You can't think about or worry about other guys."

On how the process works when a player encounters a situation where he has to stay away from camp: "You call and communicate with your coaches. For me, that was [John Harbaugh] last year, my secondary coach, and [head coach] Andy [Reid]. [I called] to make sure they know what's going on with me, with my family, and to let them know ahead of time that more than likely I wouldn't be making all the minicamps and what was going on with me. They were fully abreast of what was going on with me."

On whether he thinks they treat veteran players or leaders differently in situations like that: "In that situation with me, I can only speak for me, I wouldn't think so. Andy has always said it and I agree with him and I believe when he says that family is first. When you have a situation, family-wise, that is detrimental, you handle those situations first."

On whether he prepares himself differently for training camp as he gets older: "Differently? Not really. This offseason was different, obviously, because of what happened last year. This was a tougher offseason for me, working-out wise, than it has been in a while, as far as the time put in. I put in a whole lot of time early, really early, in this offseason, so it's a little different. When I train, I don't know what a 35-year-old person is supposed to be doing. All I know is I need to have my body right, and these are the things I've done in the past to get my body right. If I still can do this, I am going to work out the same way—aggressively—to prepare myself for it."

On how much he is concerned by the injuries that have been popping up recently: "As long as it's not injuries where guys are going to be gone for long periods of time, I'm talking about months or half the season. Injuries are going to happen in camp. I remember some camps where almost the whole defensive line was hurt. I remember maybe it was five or six years back. You're going to have those camps where guys get hurt. We are going to handle what we handle on the field. When we get those guys back healthy, they'll come back and contribute and we'll play ball."

On what is tough for Samuel about learning Jim Johnson's defense: "When you're coming into this scheme, there are some things where there's not a lot of wiggle room. Those are the types of things that Asante is trying to learn on the run a little bit. Where is the wiggle room for me, to be able to do what I do best? I think [secondary coach] Sean [McDermott] and Jim are doing a great job of allowing him to give his input on how he played in the past, where he is comfortable, and getting into some happy mediums on some things. For him, I think that's the toughest thing. He's smart enough to pick up the defense. The application of, 'Where is my wiggle room?' is the key now."

On whether he feels like he can still be the same Brian Dawkins this year: "I believe so. It's funny the way that works. If you get an injury when you're a rookie it's because you have fatigued legs. If you get an injury when you're 35, the same exact injury, it's because you're old. The same injury I have now is the same injury I had about six years ago. I hyperextended the knee. It's the same injury, but since I'm 35 now, it's because I'm older. I'm going to go out and whatever I can give, I'm going to give. If I'm that same Brian Dawkins, then we'll talk about being that Brian Dawkins. If I'm not, then I'm not. But, I anticipate being me. I only know one way to play, and that is full-speed. That's how I do it, and I've always done it that way. I'm going to go out and give what I can for you guys on gameday. That's how I'm going to do it."

On team owner Jeffrey Lurie: "Obviously I've been around Mr. Lurie a long time. I think he's very passionate about this team. I think he looks for us to go out and not just compete, but compete for championships every year. I think that the guys who I have been able to sit down and talk with know what type of passion he has for us and what we do on the football field. What he feels about this team, it's not just a side business for him. It's not just like a pet for him. It's something he has passion for."

On whether he feels comfortable calling up Lurie if he has a problem: "I could call him up. If I had something going on, an issue, I could definitely call him up. It's not one of those things where you would get his assistant and he'll get back with you in a month or so. You'll get his assistant and when I have called him, he gets right back to me. He's very open in that respect."

On how it will affect DTs Brodrick Bunkley and Mike Patterson that Johnson plans to use four defensive ends in certain situations: "That'll be up to Jim. I really don't know. I know Jim wants to put speed on the field on those sure-fire passing downs—third-and-10, third-and-7. We are going to have speed on the field; I'm pretty sure about that. Personnel-wise, if it's third-and-short, third-and-five or less, we're going to have those two big guys on the field to eat up that middle."

On whether they will be more effective with fewer snaps: "If you have less snaps and your legs are a little fresher, I believe you're going to be pretty good in there."

On what he was doing with Turkey Hill Dairy today: "Turkey Hill, we have teamed up for seven years now. For every interception I get, they donate $1,000 to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, as well as for every Touchdown Sundae that is sold, they donate 5 cents, I think it is, to Eagles Youth Partnership. Hopefully, I'll get a whole bunch of interceptions this year. For every touchdown I get, so let's pray for some touchdowns for me, $10,000 goes to Juvenile Diabetes. It's a great cause, I believe; that's why I'm a part of it. I want to thank Turkey Hill for all they have been doing for me."

On whether he understands how hard it was for Packers QB Brett Favre to retire: "Oh yes, especially when you have it. If you don't have it, it's still a hard decision, but it's not quite as hard as when you have it. Brett has it. He still has it. I don't understand all that is going on, obviously. But, from a player, mentality-wise, if you still can do it, you still love it, you still have a passion and a love for the guys in the locker room and it's not all about you, then I can see how a guy would want to come back."

On whether he anticipates it being hard for himself to retire: "If I still can do it at a high level and I don't have a lot of pain everywhere, it would be a tough decision. If I can no longer do it, it's time for me to shut it down because I can no longer be me, I can no longer be Brian Dawkins to my teammates. I would never, ever want to be a liability to my teammates."

On whether he thinks the Favre saga will tarnish his legacy on the field: "I don't know if you can tarnish what he's done on the field. Off the field is a completely different issue. On the field, I don't know how you can tarnish that. I know that when I line up to play against him, I won't be thinking about him holding out. I won't be thinking about all that. I will be thinking about making sure I have tight coverage on the guys when he's in the pocket or when he scrambles, because if I don't, he has a cannon to get the ball to the receivers. That's what I'll be thinking about. Off the field, you can talk about whatever. On the field, he's a Hall of Famer."

On what he does to keep younger players motivated: "You just use game-time analogies. Fourth quarter, third quarter. Sometimes you come out here during that last period, that's overtime. Situational football, we get down in the red zone or they start at the 40 or the 45. 'This is a long kickoff, they just got a kickoff return, they're feeling good about themselves, let's shut them down.' You use those types of motivation to get through those tough days. It's a very physical game, as you know, but emotionally it's tough to come out here and give that same juice every practice. You have to kind of use those things to push through, and for the most part they work."

On whether he is approachable for younger guys: "I hope so. I always tell them that if they need anything or if there are any conversations to be had, it doesn't have to be football, my door is always open and my phone is always available for those guys to hit me up. Whatever wisdom I have been able to gain from this game, from others who I have been blessed to be in contact with, you have it."

On whether he will stay retired when he retires: "I doubt very seriously that when that time comes, that I will come back, because I would have exhausted everything in this tank. The tread on the tires will be falling off. To come back with a spare tire on is not a good thing. I don't think I'll be coming back when that time comes, but it's not now."

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