Brian Dawkins.

 

No one name in recent Eagles history is met with more reverence, The man affectionately known as B-Dawk played 13 seasons in South Philly, made eight Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro four times. On Monday, he announced his retirement from the NFL via Twitter.

 

“The Lord has blessed me to play in the NFL for 16 years,” Dawkins wrote. “I would like to thank the Eagles & the Broncos for believing in me. I would like to thank all my teammates & coaches that I have been blessed 2 go to battle with. Along with u, the fans 4 helping make my career 1 that I have enjoyed tremendously. In other words, I am announcing my retirement from the NFL.”

 

Dawkins will address the media today via conference call at 4 p.m. He will also meet with Philadelphia reporters Saturday at the NovaCare Complex. The Eagles will honor their future Hall of Famer on Sept. 30 before they host the New York Giants at the Linc. (For the record, Dawkins always maintained that his most hated NFC East rival was the Giants, not the Cowboys).

 

“Brian Dawkins is one of my all-time favorite players and one of the best to ever put on an Eagles uniform,” owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. “On the field, in many ways, Brian re-invented the safety position. “

 

Dawkins left the Eagles following the 2008 season and played in Denver for three seasons. He left the Birds as the franchise’s leader in games played (183) and interceptions (34). Dawkins was a second-round pick in the 1996 draft.

Meeting Brian Dawkins

They say you never forget your first time, and I’ll never forget my first time visiting Brian Dawkins’ locker at the NovaCare Complex. First of all, he had two locker stalls: one for him and one for his alter-ego, Weapon X. The latter was filled with Wolverine figurines and comic books, and was considered sacred to the team’s undisputed leader (yes, we’re counting Donovan McNabb there).

As a life-long fan and supporter of Philly sports, I’ll admit I was pretty nervous strolling up to Dawkins on my first day on the Eagles beat. Dawkins headed to the podium to do a once-a-week press conference with reporters, so no one hung out around his locker. No one wanted to bother him. But I didn’t know about that yet and I had a question that I wanted answered.

You see, I was doing a story on Asante Samuel, but the new cornerback wasn’t granting interviews … so I timidly approached B-Dawk and requested permission. My heart was racing. It was the first and only time I've had butterflies in a pro sports locker room. He looked at me awkwardly at first, then shook my hand and opened up about what a playmaker Asante was going to be and how happy they were to have him patrolling the secondary.

I got the quotes I needed. The story turned out perfectly. More importantly, I got to share a rare, intimate moment with a boyhood idol. There aren’t many players like Brian Dawkins, a player that was just as passionate about winning as the fans are. In fact, I have never seen a player so physically — and mentally — distraught after a loss than Dawkins following the 2008 NFC championship game loss to Arizona. He actually started his postgame press conference by apologizing to Eagles fans.

Really, that’s all you need to know about Brian Dawkins. He is a class-act guy with Hall-of-Fame talent. Farewell, B-Dawk. Congratulations on an amazing career and good luck in retirement.