When Josh McDaniels became head coach of the Denver Broncos at age 32, his top target in free agency was safety Brian Dawkins, who turns 36 next month.

"He doesn't look like it," McDaniels said. "When you watch him on tape, when you watch him on the field, he's playing as fast or faster than everybody else."

Dawkins, who left the Eagles after 13 years when McDaniels offered him what essentially is a $9 million contract over 2 years, led the Broncos with 11 tackles and a ton of pep talks in their 12-7, season-opening win at Cincinnati.

"The way that guy runs around the field, he saved a bunch of yards with open-field tackles," McDaniels said. "And his energy and leadership on the sideline is as good as any player I've ever seen."

McDaniels said that even with headphones on, he could hear Dawkins' constant chatter on the sideline.

"When I'm calling plays on offense, there's not one time that I don't hear him behind me, talking to the defense, talking to the punt team. It doesn't matter who it is, I can hear him," McDaniels said. "I'm hearing him behind me, and it's all positive, it's all the right things and it's not phony. It's real leadership."

It's the same thing he did for years for the Eagles.

"He brings an intensity to the game, even in practices," linebacker Mario Haggan said. "When you hear a guy like him speak, if you're not ready to play, you don't have a heart."

Dawkins said, "I'm a blessed and anointed man to do what I do and I don't take it for granted. I love what I do. It's an opportunity for me to go out and have a great time. People come to the game to have a great time. I go to the game to have a great time, so I'm not going to allow anything to deter me from that."


* Buffalo cornerback Leodis McKelvin said he doesn't want anyone arrested for painting an obscenity and the game's score on the front lawn of his home shortly after a 25-24, season-opening loss at New England on Monday.

"It's just one little incident. I hope it doesn't happen anymore," McKelvin said. "I was mad, I was kind of like angry in a way, but I was laughing a little bit for what they put on there."

McKelvin is being partly blamed for the loss after his fumble set up the Patriots' winning drive. He discovered the vandalism shortly after returning home from the game.

In another Bills matter, starting middle linebacker Paul Posluszny is expected to miss about 6 weeks after having surgery to repair a broken bone in his left arm.

* Tom Brady had a succinct response to all the talking Jets coach Rex Ryan has done about the Patriots and their coach.

"Talk is cheap," the Patriots quarterback said with a smile.

A few hours later, Ryan also spoke calmly. The rookie head coach said he stood by his remarks that he wasn't intimidated by Patriots coach Bill Belichick and that he didn't come to New York to kiss Belichick's Super Bowl rings.

"It's how I felt and it's how I feel. I have a lot of respect for Bill Belichick," Ryan said in a conference call. "Hey, I'm not his friend on Sunday."

The teams meet Sunday at Giants Stadium.

* The new Cowboys Stadium may have a record-setting full house Sunday night.

Cowboys spokesman Brett Daniels said the team's standing-room "Party Pass" tickets, at $29 apiece, have sold out. The Cowboys will say only that the standing-room total exceeds 20,000 fans.

Combined with regular ticket sales in the 80,000-seat stadium, Dallas could challenge the NFL attendance record of 103,467 when they take on the New York Giants.

The record was set Oct. 2, 2005, when San Francisco and Arizona played a regular-season game at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.

* The NFL assessed $125,000 in fines to the New York Jets and former coach Eric Mangini for violating the league's rules on injury reporting with former quarterback Brett Favre last season.

The Jets failed to place Favre, now with the Minnesota Vikings, on the injury report during the final month of last season even though he had a torn biceps tendon.

The league announced it had fined the Jets $75,000, and Mangini and Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum $25,000 apiece. Mangini now coaches the Cleveland Browns.

* Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler said he is not dwelling on his poor debut with the Bears, when he threw four interceptions in a loss at Green Bay.

"It's not going to keep me down," said Cutler, who was 17 of 36 for 277 yards with a touchdown. "It really isn't."

This week, the Bears play host to Pittsburgh.

* Seattle starting linebacker Leroy Hill will be sidelined at least until November because of a groin injury suffered in Week 1 against St. Louis.