Five years after Brian Dawkins left Philadelphia, the Eagles great is still inspiring hope in the city he once called home.
Dawkins was part of the 2013 Beyond Sports Summit, an event which honors sports as a catalyst for making positive social change in the world.
Speakers at the three-day event included NBA commish David Stern, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, former Sixer Dikembe Mutombo, Mayor Michael Nutter and former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell.
"Where your passion is, is where your gift lies," said Dawkins. "If you're just doing things because you think people would like it, are you really passionate about that? When you have a passion for something and you love it, and love the people you're working with, you're going to go above and beyond with your time, love and care."
No one could ever question those qualities in Dawkins. He partnered with Turkey Hill Ice Cream to donate $1,000 to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation for every interception he made between 2004 and 2007. In celebration of his twin daughters' first birthday, Dawkins gave $10,000 to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. In 2009, the NFL handed him the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
"When you talk about team, it should be Together Everybody Achieves More, T-E-A-M," said Dawkins. "You go through a lot of peaks and valleys in your life. As sports is happening, life is happening, and your team is there to help you through the tough times."
The Eagles retired Dawkins' No. 20 last season. He recorded 898 tackles, 34 interceptions, 32 forced fumbles and 21 sacks in his career with the Birds, while helping lead the franchise to only its second Super Bowl.
"When we lost to the Patriots [in the Super Bowl] I told the guys in the locker room that you will see me more defined next year," said Dawkins. "I will be bigger and hopefully faster. I want to make sure that I'm doing everything in this offseason to come back even better next year, and I'm telling you to do the same for yourselves so we can come back and make another run at it."
The Eagles never got back to the Super Bowl. They reached the NFC Championship in 2008. It was Dawkins' final game as an Eagle as the team chose to let him walk away via free agency. Yet here he is, walking back into town for charity.