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As he retires, Brian Dawkins remembers Jim Johnson

Super Bowl XXXIX - Philadelphia Eagles vs New England Patriots - February 6, 2005 Getty Images

Longtime NFL safety Brian Dawkins announced his retirement today, and in comments to the Philadelphia media, Dawkins demonstrated why he’s been such a respected and beloved man in Philadelphia since the Eagles drafted him in 1996.

Specifically, when Dawkins was asked for his favorite moment as an Eagle, he took it as an opportunity to heap praise on the late Jim Johnson, who was the Eagles’ defensive coordinator for most of Dawkins’ 13 years in Philadelphia. Dawkins named the Eagles’ NFC Championship Game victory after the 2004 season as his proudest accomplishment, and cited the emotion on Johnson’s face in winning that game as the thing he most enjoyed.

Although Dawkins played his final three seasons with the Broncos, the Eagles are celebrating him as one of their own, with head coach Andy Reid issuing a statement praising Dawkins as one of the all-time greats.

He was the unquestioned leader of our defense,” Reid said. “He will go down as one of the greatest Eagles of all-time and I have no doubt we’ll be celebrating his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”

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43 Responses to “As he retires, Brian Dawkins remembers Jim Johnson”
  1. l0yalr0yal says: Apr 23, 2012 4:57 PM

    Loved this guy. I’m thinking hall of fame, even if he played for teams I completely dislike. He was a leader, and a class act.

    Thumbs up if you agree, down if you disagree.

  2. blacknole08 says: Apr 23, 2012 4:58 PM

    I love and respect that Dawkins is paying respect to the man that helped mold him into the player he is today. He will be missed and is definitely a Hall of Famer.

  3. tombrookshire says: Apr 23, 2012 4:59 PM

    Class gentleman and a first round HOF’er. Thanks for the memories, Dawk!

  4. eagleseagleseagles says: Apr 23, 2012 4:59 PM

    Best freaking Eagle of my lifetime, congrats on a great career, and good luck in your retirement WEAPON X. First Ballot HOF for sure. Hopefully Andy Reid has drafted Nate Allen and Jarrett to be half the safeties that B-Dawk was. No one has ever replaced him since he left.

  5. sullybleedsgreen says: Apr 23, 2012 5:04 PM

    Class act, true professional, All Pro & Future H O F!!!

  6. mikewasserson says: Apr 23, 2012 5:04 PM

    Without a doubt one of the classiest human-beings to ever don an NFL uniform. I hate to use the term “soldier” or “warrior” given the fact that the NFL is just a game, but this guy epitomized both terms to a tee.

  7. howiefeltersnatch says: Apr 23, 2012 5:07 PM

    I can’t stand the Eagles or their fans but Dawkins was one of my favorite players from the last decade. Good luck sir

  8. kerc1986 says: Apr 23, 2012 5:14 PM

    I’m not big eagle fan, but I always like the way brian play the game, always gave his best for the team.

  9. bleedgreen33 says: Apr 23, 2012 5:14 PM

    May God bless you Weapon X. You have no idea what you’ve done for us in the City of Brotherly Love. We will forever miss your leadership and toughness.

  10. kandh2004 says: Apr 23, 2012 5:14 PM

    Dawk and Reggie are the two best defensive players EVER for the Eagles

  11. pooflingingmonkey says: Apr 23, 2012 5:17 PM

    Pure class.

    Imagine if every player played the game the way Dawkins played it, but more importantly if every player lived their lives the way Dawkins does.

    See you in the Hall, Brian.

  12. joshmelder says: Apr 23, 2012 5:19 PM

    This guy was a phenomenal athlete and seems like such a premium man.

  13. dcbuff says: Apr 23, 2012 5:21 PM

    as a long time cowboys fan, i longed for the day he would leave the eagles. he was a great one!

  14. phillyphan72 says: Apr 23, 2012 5:24 PM

    The Wolverine gave us so many great memories.Forever my favorite Eagle….See you in Canton

  15. myvickinabox14 says: Apr 23, 2012 5:25 PM

    Thank you for putting the picture of him in an Eagles uniform. My favorite player ever. I named my dog after him. I hope I can get tickets to that game!!

  16. 20bdawk says: Apr 23, 2012 5:26 PM

    My favorite and one of the greatest birds of all time! Thanks for the great memories Dawk

  17. rajbais says: Apr 23, 2012 5:27 PM

    Jim Johnson R.I.P.

    I believe that Brian Dawkins will go to the Hall of Fame, but it would’ve been great if Jim Johnson was his presenter.

  18. phillybirds says: Apr 23, 2012 5:40 PM

    This is one topic all Eagles fans can agree on. We love Brian Dawkins.

    I’m very thankful for everything Dawkins has done for this team. I met him once in my life and I could barely talk.

    Good luck in the future Dawkins. HOF here we come!

  19. Deb says: Apr 23, 2012 5:41 PM

    Great, great player! Best of luck in the next phase of your life. The game will miss you.

    And RIP Jim Johnson.

  20. birdobeamen says: Apr 23, 2012 5:49 PM

    Was there ever a question as to how or with which team he would retire?

    B-Dawk is the epitome of what it means to BLEED GREEN.

    We love you Dawk, forever and always.

  21. nfl fan says: Apr 23, 2012 5:49 PM

    …and don’t forget Ike Hilliard

  22. eaglebobby says: Apr 23, 2012 5:59 PM

    He was truly one of the greatest modern-day Eagles to play the game. However, just because the Eagles didn’t offer him the same contract as Denver didn’t mean they didn’t respect him. They offered him a deal that included a game-by game bonus–and at age 35, why not? He’d had a few little nicks here and there in his last couple of years with the Eagles, so any good business wouldn’t tie down a number of years to an aging player. However, the Eagles haven’t done a good job of drafting his replacement.

  23. ppdoc13 says: Apr 23, 2012 6:03 PM

    The beat eagle I’ve ever seen play. First ballot HOF. Sorry he had to leave the eagles to finish his career. He neede to retire an eagle like ray and Rees need to retire ravens. One of the few things I don’t like about the “new” nfl. For the fans it will always be more than just a business.

    Best of luck in whatever your future holds.

  24. mlmeier says: Apr 23, 2012 6:10 PM

    When the Hall of Fame considers the greatest players to never win a Superbowl, Brian Dawkins should be near the top of that last. Dawkins will always be one of the most beloved players in Philadelphia sports history, and one of the best defensive players (not to mention one of the classiest men) to ever start in the NFL. His tribute to Jim Johnson upon retiring is indicative of his selfless and humbling nature. I admire his decision to leave the NFL to properly care for his family and children, and I await the day he once again returns to Philly as a coach.

  25. iggles20 says: Apr 23, 2012 6:18 PM

    B-Dawk is the reason I chose this screen name. He’s my all time favorite player. He’s definitely HOF worthy and he was a class act as a player and a person.

    I hope to be there on Sept 30th when the Eagles celebrate him on the field.

    Thanks for everything, B-Dawk!

  26. baroneski29 says: Apr 23, 2012 7:09 PM

    Coming from a Giants fan. Amazing safety. Definite hall of famer, and a class act. He made a lot of games miserable for me.

  27. upperdecker19 says: Apr 23, 2012 7:23 PM

    He won’t need to vote for himself to get into the HOF….

    Regards,
    #5

  28. turk2875 says: Apr 23, 2012 7:44 PM

    Brian Dawkins = Heart of Philadelphia
    Jim Johnson = Soul of Philadelphia

  29. sjoyner59 says: Apr 23, 2012 7:46 PM

    Two class guys who the NFL will and has missed in Jims case.Towards the end of Dawks time in Philly Brian like all players had maybe lost a step and Jim Johnson moved him closer to the line and designed ways to keep Brian on the field because he was such a good player,his leadership and his importance to the team.At times it seamed like Dawk was a linebacker in his style of play(and with him being closer to the line of scrimmage) the way he would take on bigger guys and take them down with ease.I think after Jim Johnson passed away the rest of the league figured out what all of us already knew,he was the coaching strength of the team.Johnsons defense carried the Birds for a long time,as fans we all miss what Jim Johnson brought to the team-the defense hasn’t been right since he passed away.I hope Juan Castillo can get it together this year,he is a hard worker but he is not Jim Johnson thats for sure….

  30. drew05 says: Apr 23, 2012 7:48 PM

    Loved ya “Dawk”…thanks for the memories!

    Come back and teach these young safeties we got now how to play!

    B-Dawk an intern coach in 2012! (much like many former eagles)

  31. justasecond1 says: Apr 23, 2012 7:49 PM

    Two class acts, Dawkins and Johnson.

  32. dwntwnbadboy19 says: Apr 23, 2012 8:17 PM

    Loved this guy! Hard hitting pure NFL Player, he will always be a Eagle to me. He will get to hall of fame, just not first ballot.

  33. dkphilly1122 says: Apr 23, 2012 8:19 PM

    Being from Philly and not an Eagles fan I seen Dawkins play every week and give it his all, all the time. The man is a machine and deserves all the praise and nothing short of the HOF. Johnson was an opposing offenses worst nightmare too. I got and have had nothing but respect for both of them. Dawk was amazing, good luck brother!!!!

  34. whatchutalkinabouthillis says: Apr 23, 2012 8:29 PM

    Jim Johnson kicked a legendary amount of ass. I think both of them should make the HOF. I know publicity shouldn’t be a factor in the voting, otherwise Ochocinco and T.O. would be first balloters, but how often did you hear the media, fans, players, anyone talk about an assistant coach like they did about Jim Johnson? I can’t think of another off the top of my head. How often did we hear on the broadcast “and here comes that fearsome Jim Johnson defense”? Definitely HOF for both.

  35. johnnyd104 says: Apr 23, 2012 8:53 PM

    Favorite player of all time. My exciting player on the field every time out. Eagles have never been the same since the departure of these two and it never will. God bless and thanks for the memories.

  36. Deb says: Apr 23, 2012 8:54 PM

    @whatchutalkinabouthillis …

    Agree with you on Jim Johnson, but I don’t think the Hall of Fame inducts coordinators and Johnson was never a head coach. Dick LeBeau of the Steelers was inducted as a player. Does anyone know whether coordinators or position coaches can or have been inducted into the Hall?

  37. drummer2177 says: Apr 23, 2012 10:20 PM

    Class act. I’m a Skins’ fan and it is in my blood to hate all the Eagles but for Dawkins, he really was a decent player. I found it hard to root against the guy.

    One more year Brian? The Skins’ could use you back there. Hell, he would be 10x better than a juiced Landry.

  38. patsaintsbroncoscheat says: Apr 23, 2012 10:32 PM

    Dawkins is awesome. Eagles fans suck. They definitely did not deserve to win that NFC championship in 2004.

  39. dawglb says: Apr 23, 2012 10:41 PM

    Hall of Famer, no question about it. Dawk is one of the truly good guys in the NFL. He is a genuine leader. When I would go to games, I would always notice B-Dawk on the sidelines (when the O was on the field) chatting it up, cheering for the O, watching the game. Meanwhile, the rest of the D was sitting on the Defense’s bench. The man is/was a true professional. A class act. A1st ballot HOFer!

  40. mikexzilla says: Apr 23, 2012 11:36 PM

    Weapon X! RIP Jim Johnson

  41. sloiggles says: Apr 23, 2012 11:36 PM

    Unbelievable class and dignity both on and off the field. The very definition of professional. Dawk will forever be remembered for his eccentric entrances, punishing hits ( Crumpler and Hilliard are the first two that should come to ANY eagles fan) and leadership. This is a bittersweet day for any NFL fan. We’ll see you in Canton B-Dawk. E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!!!!

  42. maximusprime107 says: Apr 24, 2012 2:28 AM

    It’s always a nice change of pace to read a PFT article and see unanimous praise for a player

  43. mox19380 says: Apr 24, 2012 10:06 AM

    As an eagles fan I can respect people’s dislike for my team…and respect even more their admiration of B-Dawk.

    You can watch a 3:00 minute youtube clip and see exactly why he is respected throughout the league and by fans. He was absolutely invaluable to our team and in the 3 season’s since he’s left it is clear the lack of leadership, intensity and professionalism he brought to the Eagles

    I also love that pic in the body of the article

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