Dawkins, T.O. Get the Call to the Hall
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (973espn.com) - On the eve of their third Super Bowl appearance the Eagles got news that two of their stars from the last one in 2005 -- hard-hitting safety Brian Dawkins and receiver Terrell Owens -- will be part of the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class.
The full class is headlined by two generational talents -- former Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots receiver Randy Moss, as well as Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. Others to be inducted are former Chicago LB Brian Urlacher, long-time Washington executive Bobby Beathard, and senior finalists Robert Brazile, a former Houston Oilers LB, and Green Bay offensive guard Jerry Kramer.
The intimidating Dawkins, who now works with the team in player development, was nominated in his second year of eligibility after a 16-year career which included four first-team All-Pro berths. He was defined by his versatility and ability to make the big game-changing play play, amassing 37 interceptions with 26 sacks and 36 career forced fumbles in a career which ultimately finished in Denver. Due to safety issues and changes in how the game is legislated, it's unlikely you will see another safety who played the game like Dawkins anytime soon.
“This is tremendous news and I could not be more proud of Brian," Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said. "Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is an honor he truly earned. He epitomized everything we love about the game of football. His intensity, his passion, his love of the game and his leadership were always dialed in at the highest possible level. He connected in every possible way with the city of Philadelphia and our legion of Eagles fans across the country. We cannot wait to celebrate his special night in Canton this summer.”
A member of the 2000s NFL All-Decade Team, Dawkins made nine career Pro Bowl -- second most all-time by a safety -- during his 16-year NFL career with Philadelphia (1996-2008) and Denver (2009-11).
Starting 221-of-224 career regular-season games, Dawkins totaled 1,146 tackles (910 solo), 26 sacks (227 yds.), 37 interceptions (513 yds.), 179 passes defensed, 36 forced fumbles and 19 fumble recoveries. He also started 18 postseason games, recording 89 tackles (74 solo), two sacks (23 yds.), four interceptions (75 yds.), nine passes defensed and three forced fumbles.
Dawkins spent his first 13 NFL seasons with the Eagles, who retired his No. 20 jersey in 2012. He finished his career in Philadelphia as the team’s all-time leader in regular-season games played (183) and overall wins (109) while tying the club record for interceptions (34).
He played in five conference championship games and one Super Bowl with the Eagles with his 18 postseason starts representing the most in franchise history.
Owens' stay in Philadelphia was far shorter but certainly impactful as he caught 77 passes for 1,200 yards and 14 TDs during the 2004 season which preceded the team's Super Bowl loss to New England in Jacksonville.
By the next season, Owens was angry about his contract situation and created an untenable environment around the team ultimately only playing in seven more games for the Eagles.
Owens' inability to fit in anywhere -- he was at his best in San Francisco but also had stints with the Eagles, Dallas, Buffalo and Cincinnati -- hurt his candidacy for the first two years. He finally got he mod in Year 3 Owens was a first-team All-Pro five times and had a now-legendary 122-yard performance in the Super Bowl with the Eagles, a scant seven weeks after breaking his leg and tearing ligaments in his ankle.
“Terrell Owens is one of the most talented and exciting wide receivers ever to play the game and he is very deserving of this honor," Lurie claimed. "We appreciate all of his contributions to the league and to one of the finest seasons in the history of our franchise.”
Chosen by the 48-person Selection Committee as two of five modern-era inductees for the Class of 2018, Dawkins and Owens will be officially enshrined in Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, next August as the culmination of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen