Eagles To Retire Brian Dawkins #20 Jersey
Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie announced that the team will retire Brian Dawkins’#20 jersey at Lincoln Financial Field on September 30 during a nationally televised game against the New York Giants.
Here is Dawkins' opening statement to the media:
“Wow, this is a blessing to be able to come here and retire as an Eagle, back where I started. Along the way, you learn things and you truly recognize the blessed people that you’ve been able to come in contact with. I’ve been able to come in contact with a lot of great people and a lot of great coaches who’ve allowed me to become the player that I am and the person and man that I have become. Along this journey, there was this great man who saw something in me and that was Jim Johnson. He saw something in me and began to use me in a different way than a lot of safeties were being used at the time. He believed in me. The thing that I’ve always carried and always been as a player is a person who didn’t want to disappoint his coaches and gentlemen, I didn’t want to disappoint y’all. Why did I play with so much emotion? Why did I do all of that? Because I loved to do what I do and I loved playing with my teammates. I loved playing for them. In Jim, I found that individual that believed in me to use me. When the game was on the line, the reason that I made so many big plays in crunch time is because Jim continued to call my number in crunch time. He knew I would do whatever it took and I would give up my body parts if I had to just to make sure his blitzes went on. I can thank him for that.
I know I’m shedding tears because I’m thinking back and reminiscing but this is a happy time for me. I chose to walk out the way that I’m walking out. As I walk down the aisle, you didn’t see me limping and you didn’t see my shoulders sag to one side or the other. My body is healthy and I feel great. I felt it was that time for me to step down and move on with the rest of my life so that my kids can see me in the house a little. Connie, I’d like to thank you, my beautiful wife. If anybody knows me - my teammates, you knew that I was here all the time. You know that I was one of the first people here, and I was always the last person to leave because I was getting my body back right after the game after the damage I had done to it that Sunday. Connie, you had patience and I thank you because you were basically a single mom those times. I thank you, baby.
This is the time that I reflect on because I had so many great times here. So many great times and so many big games. We had a lot of heartaches and a lot of tears, but the great times that we had and the runs that we went on will be something that will live in our hearts forever. I will always remember that. Fans, I thank you because listen, you put up with all that ranting, raving, and hollering, and you put it with that. You welcomed that into your households and your living rooms. So many times, I get letters and people asking me to sign jerseys for their loved ones to put in their coffins because I was their favorite player and they loved me that much. I thank you for welcoming me into your households and the way you welcomed me in there. Just know that I appreciate it and I heard what you said, and I still hear what you say about your love for this team and the Eagles, the people here, and your love for me. Believe me, that reverberates and comes right back to you because I love you guys just as well. I had a great run, I really did, and the Lord has blessed me to do this thing the way that I did for 16 years. If you saw me play, you know that I wouldn’t be willing to ask these gentlemen to do anything I wasn’t willing to do myself first. I would run into a brick wall full-tilt if I thought that would help my team win, and they knew that. I will take that intensity into the next phase of my life. I will do a little coaching, a little ministry work and whatever the Lord asks me to do, but I’ll continue to follow my team here and be an asset if need be. For all the young guys who need me, my phone will be open and available for you. I thank you for everything that I have done here for the Philadelphia Eagles as I become one of the guys – I still can’t believe that I’ll be mentioned in the same sentence with these cats you see up here. Reggie White, a guy I look up to, I can’t believe that. I look at things differently. The smallest safety from Jacksonville, Florida, and you’ve probably heard this before, a smallish safety from Jacksonville, Florida at the time I was drafted. Soaking wet, 190 pounds. At safety, that was not the norm. Playing 16 years in the National Football League. So many people would love to do that for a living and I did that for 16 years. I can’t take that for granted. I can’t say I deserved that, and the Lord blessed me with the ability so I went out there, gave it everything I had, and had a great time doing it. I will always remember this day and this will always be a part of me, all the time that I spent with the Philadelphia Eagles. Thank you very much.”
Dawkins’ #20 will become the eighth retired jersey in franchise history. Here are the others:
15 – Steve Van Buren
40 – Tom Brookshier
44 – Pete Retzlaff
60 – Chuck Bednarik
70 – Al Wistert
92 – Reggie White
99 – Jerome Brown
17 players wore #20 in an Eagles uniform prior to Dawkins: