Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Dawkins leaves his mark

As the legendary safety returns to Philly, 5 memorable moments

With the Birds

* Franchise leader in regular-season games played (183), postseason starts (18) and overall wins (109)

* Tied for franchise record in interceptions (34)

* Franchise record for sacks (21) by a defensive back (fourth in NFL history)

* Played in five NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl

* 7-time Pro Bowler, fourth-most by a safety in league history

* 4-time All-Pro first team by the Associated Press

* Averaged nearly 100 tackles a year and owns six 100-tackle seasons (career-high 155 in 2006)

Oct. 28, 2002, vs. Giants

During a Monday night game, Dawkins rocked Giants receiver Ike Hilliard, ending Hilliard's season with a tear in his labrum and pectoralis muscle.

Less than 3 minutes into the second half, Dawkins came from the north side of the field and sent Hilliard south, helmet-first, but he sent himself further than that: He almost knocked himself out. It would have been, by his count, the third self-knockout of his career to that point.

Dawkins laid on the field for about 3 minutes. He said he felt some pain in his neck, but was just being cautious. After being tended to by trainers, Dawkins was back up and would return one play later.

Dawkins received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and later was fined $50,000 for the hit.

"I made my mark playing a certain way," Dawkins said. "There are just a few inches between your neck and your shoulders. That's what confuses me. They tell me to hit with my shoulders, but if the receiver moves in the air, what's closest to him? My head. If someone can explain how to do that differently, I'll be happy to change."

Jan. 11, 2003, vs. Falcons

Dawkins hit on Michael Vick in the divisional playoff game was so memorable that it remained a part of his bio in the Eagles media guide until Dawkins' departure: "Drilled Vick with a highlight-film hit on a scramble."

And it had to be memorable when you consider the play was erased by a penalty. Vick took off from the 20 and was blasted by Dawkins as he headed into the end zone. Amazingly, Vick took one play off and returned.

The Eagles would win, 20-6, and advance to the NFC Championship Game against Tampa.

Jan. 11, 2004, vs. Packers

Remembered by almost all as the 4th-and-26 game, Dawkins intercepted a balloon over the middle thrown by Brett Favre that set up the winning points in a 20-17 overtime victory.

Dawkins ran back the pick 35 yards, to the Packers' 34. David Akers eventually converted from 31 yards and the Eagles were on to the NFC Championship Game against Carolina.

"I was just saying, 'Don't drop it,'" Dawkins said. "Make the catch first, and if not score, get the ball as close as possible for David [Akers] to kick a field goal. That's what was in my mind as I was about to catch the ball."

Sept. 12, 2005, vs. Falcons

Dawkins was simply everywhere in a physical game that had some physicality before it even began when Jeremiah Trotter was ejected for fighting.

In the first quarter, Dawkins ended a drive by the Falcons by stepping in front of tight end Alge Crumpler for an interception deep in Eagles territory.

In the second quarter, he forced a turnover when he combined on a sack with defensive tackle Darwin Walker.

He briefly left the game with leg cramps in the third quarter, but then, in the fourth quarter, Dawkins yanked what appeared to be a touchdown pass out of Crumpler's hands. He followed that with a sack that forced a Vick fumble that Michael Lewis recovered to give the Eagles some life.

The Birds, however, would lose the game, 14-10, in the season opener.

Dec. 17, 2006, vs. Giants

Dawkins limped off the field long before the game even began with a strained calf muscle suffered in pregame warmups.

"I knew I was going to play," Dawkins said after the game. "How effective I was going to be, I didn't know, but I was going to fight for whatever I did."

He was so effective that he recorded 16 tackles, an interception and forced two fumbles as the Birds won at Giants Stadium, 36-22, in a game the Eagles needed to win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Said Sheldon Brown about Dawkins' performance: "They want to talk about this guy getting old. That's crap. This guy has the motor of a 23-year-old coming out."

What he is saying

On how he feels after a game at age 36:

"[It] depends on the team, depends on the game and depends on what I've asked my body to do on that Sunday. Usually, Monday is not a fun day. It is a slow day for me, and I try and do everything in my power to get my body ready to come into practice and be able to run and run at a good pace so I'll be ready to run full speed and do the same crazy stuff again on that next Sunday."

On passing information to young players, like Broncos teammate David Bruton:

"I feel like I've been blessed to play this game, obviously, for a long time, and a lot of wisdom, I've received. I feel like it is my duty to pass that on to young guys under me. Whatever I see — he sits right next to me, so I'm always whispering different things to him to allow him to see what I see, what I'm seeing on the field and why I do certain things ...I believe that is my position. I need to be able to help young guys under me, to help them to make sure that the safety position on whatever team that I'm playing for is a strong one for years to come."

Picks parade

Brian Dawkins is one of only three players in NFL history with at least 36 interceptions and at least 20 sacks in the regular season his career. The others are LeRoy Butler and Ronde Barber. Dawkins will get his first chance to sack or intercept Donovan McNabb on Sunday. Here is Dawkins' INT list by quarterback (including postseason):

Three: Brett Favre, Eli Manning, Michael Vick

Two: Tony Banks, Peyton Manning, Jake Plummer, Tony Romo

One: Drew Bledsoe, David Carr, Randall Cunningham, Jake Delhomme, Trent Dilfer, Craig Erickson, Jay Fiedler, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Doug Flutie, Kent Graham, Trent Green, Bobby Hebert, Jeff Hostetler, Damon Huard, Brad Johnson, Kevin Johnson, Danny Kanell, Jim Kelly, Jim Miller, Patrick Ramsey, Ben Roethlisberger, Kurt Warner, Danny Wuerffel.