Monday, April 23, 2012

Brian Dawkins: A Eulogy

Thank you all for coming today.  I know the news just broke recently and I am sure many of you are still in shock, I know I am. 
It’s funny for a long time we’ve been anticipating this day, some of us for three years now, but still when it happens words fail us.  But here goes…
We are gathered here today to remember and lionize Brian Patrick Dawkins; loving husband, beloved father and bone shattering hitter.

I know it’s surprising that I be given the key note eulogy, seeing how he never knew who I was, but that man meant a lot to me.  Every Sunday for 13 years I knew I could see something exciting or at least a potential decapitation.
Sunrise, sunset; that is the order of things.  And while it is sad that we have lost a truly great man, let us not remember him as the decrepit old Bronco who always looked out of place, either because he was literally out of position, or mostly because he wasn’t wearing Eagle green. 
He is a sure fire Hall of Famer.  His 1,131 tackles, 26 sacks and 37 interceptions more than qualify him for the distinctive honor.  He was also a nine time pro bowler; an all decade starter; 20- 20 club member and the only player to have a sack, an interception, a force fumble and a touchdown reception in the same game. But he was so much more than that.   
In the truest sense of the word Brian Dawkins was a leader.  His fiery speeches, his all out playing style and his wolverine inspired entrances brought grown men to tears.  The way he would projectile himself at opposing tight ends and quarterbacks caused spectators to take Advil themselves.  And his nose for the football would rival that of a wolf stalking its prey.  To this day the Eagles are still looking for someone to pick up the mantle and be a leader.  But at the end of the day no one is, or could be, a better leader than Weapon X. 
Brian Dawkins was also a man of contradictions.  His humble and quite attitude six days out of the week was only offset by his wild eyed, fever dream playing style.  No one was ever more excited to play and not even Dr. Jekyll could cage the beast so quickly.  Wolverine always turned back into a preacher, and never humiliated himself like so many of his colleagues during the offseason.
But what I’ll remember most about Dawkins was his passion.  No player ever meant more to his team, to his city and to me like #20.  His visor, his hit on Alge Crumpler, his total evisceration of the Cowboys on Week 17 in 2008 will forever be etched into my brain.  Nobody ever cared more, no one game more and no one could ask for more from him. 
Brian Dawkins was Philadelphia.  No athlete was more universally loved in this city more than B-Dawk.  Today is cold and raining just because God knew you were leaving us today.  But Dawkins with his hard work, his dedication and his desire to not only expect the best from himself but also from others was a sentiment that every Philly native admires.  Although you were a man from the South your heart will forever belong in Philadelphia.  I was devastated when you left.
The Eagles not only let Dawkins walk away from the team, but they let a lot of their fan base leave with him.  Not offering a better contract to the emotional heart and soul of the team for a decade was an inexcusable sin and one we are still paying dearly.  The Eagles are on their third defensive coordinator since he left, I sadly didn’t write an actual eulogy for you Jim Johnson, but you too were a big hero of mine.
But now is not the time to shit on the heads of upper management.  What’s done is done and I was devastated when we lost you.  I sadly stopped following you as hard when you went away.  I tried to forget you and move on.  I thought maybe Nate Allen, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Jarred Page, Kurt Coleman, Quintin Mikkel, Quintin Demps, Macho Harris, Sean Jones, Colt Anderson and even Tom Nelson could fill your shoes.  But none is even qualified to handle your jock strap.  Now I can only think about what could have been. 
But now we’ll never know.  You’ve moved on, hopefully to a better place.  A place where you never have to worry about an unnecessary, unnecessary roughing penalty; a place far away from Andy Reid’s incompetence and a place where you can finally slay Magneto.
Brian Dawkins will forever be missed, especially in my heart. 
Brian is survived by his wife; his four children and one city.

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