Brian Dawkins retires from NFL

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After 16 years as an NFL safety, Brian Dawkins has decided to hang up the cleats.

Dawkins was an unrestricted free agent this offseason after his contract with the Broncos expired and he missed all or most of the final five regular season and playoff games of the 2011 season with a neck injury. Dawkins wasn’t expected back in Denver and he announced on Twitter Monday that he won’t be playing anywhere.

“The Lord has blessed me to play in the NFL for 16 years. I would like to thank the Eagles & the Broncos 4 believing In me. I would like 2 thank all my teammates & Coaches that I have been blessed 2 go to battle with. Along with u, the fans 4 helping make my career 1 that i have enjoyed tremendously. In other words. I am announcing my retirement from the NFL.”

Dawkins was a second round pick of the Eagles in 1996 and spent the first 13 years of his career in Philadelphia. He led their defense to four NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl appearance and made four Associated Press All-Pro teams during his time with the team. He made nine Pro Bowls and was also named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 2000s. He left the Eagles for Denver as a free agent before the 2009 season and his play didn’t slip all that significantly once in Denver.

His health did, however, and that’s probably why Dawkins has decided to call it a career.


124 responses to “Brian Dawkins retires from NFL

  1. My favorite Eagle player, Dawks was feared in the backfield, Truly will be missed.. Good luck in the future Brian

  2. what a baller. True physical safety for over a decade, which is literally unheard of. I only pray that his neck doesn’t continue to get worse in retirement, as I’m sure the NFL does too….

  3. Those rule changes to prevent the spearing of defenseless players ended his career.

  4. Dawk is one of my all-time favorite Eagles. He was a class act off of the field and a demon when he was on it.

  5. Good for him. My favorite NFL player of all time. Did things the right way on and off the field. One of the best leaders in NFL history. Look at the Eagles since he left, and the Broncos since he has been there. 1st ballot HOF in my opinion.

  6. Great guy, great player. I’ll never forget his blazing, horizontal slam on Vick’s ribs when he crossed the goal line a few years back.

  7. HALL OF FAME no doubt about it. It’s a shame he doesn’t get more mention like Ed Reed, Troy, John Lynch as one of the best safeties of this generation. Good luck Dawkins!!!!

  8. A true warrior, all players should look at players such as Brian Dawkins and Ray Lewis on how to play the game. Two of the most passionate and great leaders to ever play the game. You will be truly missed Dawkins.

  9. 70% of the Earth is covered by water; the other 30% was covered by Brian Dawkins. I was so happy in 2009 when he went to Denver and Romo didn’t have to pass to him twice per year anymore. Happy retirement sir. The golden jacket will be waiting for you in 5 years.

  10. You will hardly find a more respected man by fans and NFL players/coaches alike. Philly gave up on the guy too soon and could have benefitted having him around to stabilize their porous secondary over the past 3 years. His replacements haven’t done the position justice and have been by all accounts the greatest liability other than the linebacking corps.

    He will be missed as a player and I would believe that he deserves to be a Hall of Famer as an 8-time Pro Bowler and 4 time All Pro. (actually 9 time pro bowler, profootballreference doesn’t show him as being a pro bowler last year but I remember him playing)

  11. One of the best to ever play the safety position.

    One of my favorite players to watch.

    Off the field, one of the nicest, most humble guys in the league.

    Thanks for everything Brian.

  12. My favorite player while I was growing up. Played like a beast on the field, and was all around a classy guy. Glad you decided to hang it up Dawk; you have to take care of your wife and kids with your health declining. I hope to see you Canton one day.

  13. I always liked Dawkins as a player. It’s too bad he spent the majority of his career in Philly though. Had he been in Dallas, New England or Pittsburg, he’d have at least 3 SB rings.

  14. Brian Dawkins. Thank you for playing every down like it was your last down. Thank You for playing this game with passion that is second to none.

  15. I would like to thank Brian Dawkins for the 13 great years he gave to Philadelphia. He will be loved in this city for as long as we live. Whether its remembering him suplexing Giants wide receivers, or his devastating hit on Alge Crumpler in the NFC Championship or even his incredibly emotional speech after the NFC Championship victory. I wish he could have gotten a SB ring while in Philly to top off his HOF career. Thank you B Dawk, you’re my favorite player of all time and I don’t see that ever changing!

  16. This is sad news. Dawkins is my favorite player off all time. Great guy even better player. He played hard and with heart every game he stepped on the field! I thought for sure he would at least be back for this season with manning out there, but i guess not. I can only hope he retires as an eagle!

  17. Gave and took a ton of huge collisions on the football field throughout his career. He needs to now concentrate on taking care of his body and his head. Due to all the problems with concussions, he should have doctors keep a close eye on his medical condition to see if there are any post-football concussion related issues.

  18. flybirdsfly -I think you are talking about Sheldon Browns hit on Bush in the NFC Divisional match up, I believe it was 2007. But yeh he had some nice hits.

  19. Dawkins is only retiring because he has serious neck problems. I just don’t see why the Broncos spent $19 million on a qb with more serious neck injuries than Dawkins.

  20. “70% of the Earth is covered by water; the other 30% was covered by Brian Dawkins.”

    That’s a great line.

    He was a good player here, in Denver, but the team was so poor he didn’t really make much difference.

  21. Skins fan here.

    Dawk was a beast. Personal All time favorite Eagle (if thats possible). You should have signed him and kept Vick in the pen.

  22. “@flybirdsfly I will never forget to hit you put on Reggie Bush.”

    You apparently did forget that. It was Sheldon Brown who laid him out, not Dawkins.

    But one of the Greatest Eagles for sure. Heart of the team for years. Gonna miss ya B-Dawk

  23. Great leader. I’m sure he’ll succeed in whatever career path he chooses to pursue next. My own selfish wish – he takes a crack at coaching. The Eagles secondary, perhaps….

  24. Weapon X is a first ballot HOF’er. Guranteed. The man was a flat out beast. Eagles still haven’t come close to replacing him.

  25. As a Charger fan I am glad my team will not see him on the opposing side of the line anymore.
    As a fan of the NFL, sad the hear. All the respect in the world. A class act and role model for young players. Hall of Famer on and off the field.

  26. “I always liked Dawkins as a player. It’s too bad he spent the majority of his career in Philly though. Had he been in Dallas, New England or Pittsburg, he’d have at least 3 SB rings.”

    I get Pittsburg and NE, but Safety is the only reason Dallas hasn’t won 3 SB’s in recent years?? Does Jerry Jones know this?

    McNabb thinks Dawkins would vote for him for the HOF.

  27. I hate the Eagles and their fans. I hate almost every player that put on their uniform (I am looking at you #5) but I always had a lot of respect for Dawkins. I thought they way they let him go was awful. I wish he had been a Redskin. Next stop, Hall of Fame for B. Dawk.

  28. Greatest Eagle of my life time. First ballot HOFer. It’s pretty awesome to see even non-Eagles fans giving it up, cause that’s precisely the player Dawkins was. Trancended even the most bitter rivalries. Simply irreplacable. Thanks for the years of service.

    P.S. Change that gd banner picture to one in an Eagles uniform, thankyouverymuch

  29. I’m a Skins fan, and as much as it pains me to talk about an Eagle in such a positive light, the bottom line is that there’s no other way to look at Dawkins. He always came off as a good man, and his talents cannot be questioned.

    Congrats on retirement, sir. You deserve all good things that come to you!

  30. The hit on Algae Crumpler in the ’04 NFC Championship game was my favorite. See you in a couple of years at the Linc Dawk, when they induct you into the Eagles HOF.

  31. enough cannot be said bout dawkins and the way he played… hall of fame no doubt and life long respect from anyone who knows anything about football and watched him play, i probly watched his highlight video on youtube about 100 times

  32. As a Redskins Fan I must say this man was a Beast on the field. Much respect for Wolverine!!!

  33. Every NFL player can learn something from Dawk, he was the epitome of what an NFL player should be on and off the field. He played hard and never let up for all 60 minutes and was a tremendous locker room leader. Dawk always took accountability for the Eagles defense and was a crucial piece of the organization from the day he was drafted. He was an admired philanthropist in the community and I’m sure he will continue to be. Us Eagles fans missed him the day he left and I hope he can return to retire as an Eagle, thanks for all the great years Dawk, and for showing people how to play and respect the game.

  34. Hall of Fame voters (even though I do not believe that writers should be given the right to vote), put this guy in Canton in 5-10 years!!!!

  35. The hit on Alge in the NFC Championship. The overtime pick in the 4th and 26 game. Causing a fumble in the 44-9 dallas playoff clincher. Just a few of the many memories.
    And, of course, the way he came on the field pre-game, driving us all crazy before the Coin Toss.
    All those pale in comparison to the overwhelming memory – the guy that showed up on EVERY PLAY for 13 years.
    I’m sorry it’s over, but I’m happy to say that I won’t need to see B-Dawk in anybody else’s uniform.
    I wish he had signed a “one-day” and retired an Eagle. But, to all of us fans, he is an Eagle forever.

  36. A class act bows out in a classy way. I wish there were more players like this in the NFL. He is a role model and is how young athletes should conduct themselves.

  37. B-Dawk was truly a beast and is destined for the HOF! Now sign a one day contract and retire an Eagle and come back and coach the secondary! You will be missed!

  38. Although mellowed in his later years, sorry to see this cheap shot artist go.

    Big hits, but many with his head. Hope you wake up each morning and get everything that’s coming to you after football.

  39. You will be missed on the field in Denver Brian. Hopefully you recover and decide to return late in the season like Ty Law used to do.

  40. B-Dawk is without a doubt my favorite Eagle player of all time. Feared by many yet respected by all. Best of luck to you in retirement.

    His jersey is one of those jersey’s that can be worn for years down the road and still command the respect that it did when he was playing.

    Retire an Eagle B-Dawk. Long live # 20.

  41. One of those players that I always admired from afar and wished would play on my team when he was in Philly. And to my surprise, I got my wish when he came to Denver- and he was everything that we could have hoped for there as well.

    Thank you Brian, and good luck in wherever life takes you next.

  42. Dawkins was a great player. He was a guy, when I was in H.S., I molded my game after. Not that it meant I ever got to play like him on the field, but anyway… He excelled in all phases of the game, and I can always remember how intimidating it looked when he came running through the smoke onto the field with that visor and the already dark green eagles unis. Speaking of visor’s, I always thought he should have been the Vizio spokesman, not L.T. Either way, I see him as a first-ballot HOF, and he definetly deserves it, he does need that ceremonial, 1-day contract with the Eagles though.

  43. Not saying anything that hasn’t already been said, but Dawkins was an absolute beast and the most feared Eagles’ defender. He quarterbacked that defense and he was the one guy they really missed when he left and it showed. I think he is a HOF caliber safety in this league. He was even great for Denver.

    The “cheap shot” complainers don’t know anything about defensive football and thus football and should be embarrassed!

  44. Brian Dawkins was not only a force on the field, he was a good man off it as well. You were one of the best to play your position and we let you go too soon from philly. I think that you deserve to be a first ballot HOFee and would love for you to return to philly as a coach because if you can make players play half as well as you did, they will be awesome, but just as important if you instill the same characteristics that you possessed as a humsn being, they can become great role models too. From all nfl fans everywhere, thanks for the memories and God bless you and ypur family.

  45. Arguably my favorite athlete of all time class act on and off the field can’t wait to be in the Linc when he comes back to retire him number next stop canton

  46. As a Giants fan, I had my chance to watch Brian Dawkins at least twice a year. I must say he was one hell of a player and leader. He may have been a FS, but that guy could hit and tackle. Of course I remember his jarring hit on Ike Hilliard, his flying tackle on Tim Carter and on Reuben Droughns. He also German suplexed James Thrash.

    Great player that really put it all on the line each game. One of the great safeties I’ve had the pleasure to watch even on a rival.

  47. Psychopath on the field, compassionate man of God off the field……first ballot HOFer for sure………..thank you Brian Dawkins…..Eagles Fan

  48. Greatest Eagle to me: Here is you proof, check out this video: Brian Dawkins BeastMode highlights…
    They better find away to honor him this year, dont let this go too far Howie, Andy and company

  49. One of the best players the Eagles ever had. Made many plays against my Giants. Might be a HOF’er when it is all said and done.

  50. jenniferxxx says:
    Apr 23, 2012 10:19 AM
    Those rule changes to prevent the spearing of defenseless players ended his career.

    I’ll assume you are saying Brian Dawkins was a dirty football player when you comment like this…do yourself a favor (or four)…
    1. grow up
    2. look at all the love he is getting in the comment section (from rival fan bases alike)
    3. watch a highlight video on youtube to “get your knowledge on”
    4. watch the sport in general…
    such a classless comment for one of the most revered and respected safties to EVER play the game… Philly misses you BDawk…Best of luck in the future

  51. One of the things I’ve missed most from the Eagles games these past few years is watching Dawkins, at midfield after an Eagles score, leading the cheers during the fight song. Also, that guy got me so juiced up watching him in the end zone like a caged tiger during pre-game that I wanted to go hit someone! Absolute Beast!

    I hope the Eagles bring him back for opening game to get the fans in a frenzy when the pre-game fight song is played!

    Congrats on your retirement B-Dawk! Class act and one heck of a football player!

  52. What a career. As a Redskins fan I dreaded seeing Brian Dawkins. It was purely out of respect. He was an elite FS. He had everything. Intelligence, deep speed, aggression and the ability to cover in any scheme: zone or man. He made the right move to SS and continued to succeed. One of the greatest of all time. Without a doubt a hall of famer. It was a pleasure watching him.

  53. Eagles Should’ve signed him to a 1-day contract to retire as an Eagle. This is why that organization is so moribund.

  54. One of my favorite players ever. Dawk did so much more then what his stats showed, and they weren’t to bad either. This guy made big play after big play for years. Pure class all the way around. The Eagles still haven’t replaced him. I wish he could have gotten a ring at some point, but that in no way takes away from his greatness!!!

  55. Everybody kinda knew this was coming but it still somehow shocking.

    This is a sad day for the NFL.

    Class act and the epitome of a football player.

    Best of luck to you B-Dawk.

    Let’s slap a headset on him and put him on the sidelines Broncos!

  56. The Eagles owner has said no one will ever wear the number 20 as long as he is owner. I jope the Eagles do what’s right and retire his number ASAP and honor him. We loved B-Dawk and will always love him!

  57. Fantastic player and man he will always be missed by Eagle fans everywhere. Good luck in all you do. Hope to see you get inducted to the HOF you deserve it

  58. Somewhere Joe Banner and Andy Reid are twisting their handle bar mustaches and saying ah yes we are so smart. Look another player we let walk right before he was done. We are the smartest people in footbal…..ahhhhhh hahhhh. Except one thing geniuses B dawk at half of who he was was still better than any safety that was put on the field by the eagles. I hate the eagles but weapon x was a beast. He brought juice to that stadium weekly. His introduction was always electric. He deserved better than what he got from the Birds at the end. stay classy eagles.

  59. I watched him in Philly and Denver and this guy always lead with his head and rarely wrapped up. He’ll he on the concussion lawsuit list by the end of may.
    Don’t get me wrong he was a good safety could deliver the big hit but the reason his neck is messed up is bc he always went with his head first.

  60. Probably the best player to put on an Eagles uniform of my time. True leader, true player, heck of a guy off field. Glad the Eagles are having him retire an Eagle.

    Hope to see this guy on TV for years to come.

    and congrats on the HoF, he sent the benchmark for some of the great safties today.

  61. Jeniferxxx and NFL punk Ass fan you two need to stop playing with yourselves and get a life. Oops I guess that is your life. Wishing a person who has made the NFL a better place with his involvement ,leadership, and off the field community relations bad wishes. Here goes a wish for you,I wish I can catch both your asses in public let’s see if you will give your comment then you two p….s!!!

  62. P.S. knowing my last statement won’t stay for long Thank-you Dawkins for giving your all on and off the field . A true warrior you will be missed . The Eagles could never replace what you have done in the locker room or on the field . You were one of a kind its hard to replace someone who is irreplaceable period.

  63. scoonie97 says: Apr 23, 2012 10:36 AM

    How Donovan McNabb thinks about himself is how every one feels about Brian Dawkins.
    You win the internet today for that one, perfect!

    I can’t think of another player that rival fans and that teams’ fans agree on their respect for to this extent besides Dawkins. I hope he does make the HOF, even though it’s notoriously difficult for safeties to make it.

  64. To everyone who keep saying The eagles messed Dawkins over. If yall are fans you would know the Eagles offered Brian a two year deal . The broncos added another year and more money. I agree the Eagles should have matched the offer or beat it for that matter it just didn’t happen. Dawkins went where they was paying good money but to the eagles defence they did offer him a contract.

  65. One of the most highly regarded professional athletes of the last 2 decades and one of the true warriors of the game!!! The game will miss you more than anyone! Weapon X one of the greatest Eagles of all time. Next stop Canton!!!

  66. Wow, what can you say? We knew this day would come; its the end of an era. B-dawk, Dawkins, Weapon X, the most beloved Philadelphia Eagle of all-time. Certainly one of the greatest Philadelphia Eagles of all-time. What a role model! I can’t wait to tell my grandchildren about you. Show them the highlight reels. Show them what a true sportsman is. And what true sportsmanship is all about. You will be missed 20, but not forgotten, as I know you you won’t be far come fall! Peace brotha, you’ve given us all fond memories to remember you by. And for that, we thank you!

  67. My favorite Eagle of all time. His passion on the field was only matched by his heart off the field. I love BDAWK, and everything he stood for. He was the HEART AND SOUL OF NOT JUST THE EAGLES, BUT THE ENTIRE EAGLES FAN BASE.

    Good luck in retirement BDAWK, we love and miss you in Philly. God bless you!

  68. One of the best Free Safeties in NFL history. For better part of a decade you could only put Ed Reed in the same discussion as B-Dawk when it came to best safety in the league. Top 5 greatest Eagles of all time and possibly in top 10 as all time Philadelphia sports icons. It’s been a pleasure watching you suplex opponents for 16 years DAWK. Good Luck and GOD Bless! (if the Eagles couldn’t have you, no one can!)

  69. from a niners fan that lives in pa where everyone is an eagles fan i would just like to say that when the niners were not in the playoffs you made the playoffs much more fun for me. one of the best guys to watch play the game. always went all out. great player i wish the eagles never parted ways with you. good luck WEAPON X!

  70. Brian Dawkins is everything a true pro is,I watched every one of his home games in Eagle green from the stands and just loved him as a player .As a person he was a great teammate from all accounts,never ever should have been allowed to leave Philly…he was a big crowd favorite,the fans loved him-I know I did and was thankful he played most of his time in our city-thanks for the memories Dawk

  71. themage78 says:
    Apr 23, 2012 12:21 PM
    Eagles Should’ve signed him to a 1-day contract to retire as an Eagle. This is why that organization is so moribund.


    They still can, and hopefully will. I don’t know if it’s been confirmed but word is that they’re going to honor him at a home game in September.

  72. themage78 says:
    Apr 23, 2012 12:21 PM
    Eagles Should’ve signed him to a 1-day contract to retire as an Eagle. This is why that organization is so moribund.


    Sorry to ruin your Eagles hate on this one, but they can and will sign him. Good use of the word “moribund” though. Impressive vocabulary.

    From “Indications from the team are that he will return to officially retire as an Eagle. The Eagles have announced that Dawkins will meet with the Philadelphia media at the NovaCare Complex on Saturday at noon. Dawkins and the Eagles have been in contact for the last few weeks as he neared his announcement. The Eagles plan on pulling out all the stops for Dawkins. They will honor him during the Sept. 30 nationally-televised game against the New York Giants.”

  73. God bless, Dawk!

    You were the best, on and off the field. May you find great happiness in the next phase of your career.


  74. Eagles D hasn’t been the same since dawk left. Hopefully he joins the eagles staff and get some leadership back. Dawk was the heart and soul of those good eagle teams through the years, sorely missed.

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