The Philadelphia Eagles legend, fan-favorite and almost certain future hall-of-famer Brian “Weapon-X” Dawkins has announced that he will retire from the NFL via his Twitter account (@BrianDawkins). He announced this today shortly before 10AM EST. He wrote:
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. #BBTB
As he mentioned, he played 16 seasons in the NFL with 13 of those incredible seasons with our beloved Eagles, spending his last three seasons with the Denver Broncos. He was selected from Clemson in the second round of the 1996 draft by Ray Rhodes and the Eagles, with whom he played 13 seasons and went to the Super Bowl following the 2004 season.
As a rookie Dawkins began “climbing the ladder” quickly, he replaced Eric Zomalt as the starting free safety, remaining in that position throughout his 13 year career in Philadelphia. In 1996, he started 13 of the 14 games he played in, recording 75 tackles, a sack, and three interceptions. Dawkins’ rookie season would also see the trio of himself, Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent in the Eagles secondary that formed the core of the Eagles defense through 2003, and was instrumental in placing the Eagles among the best defenses in the league. A nine-time Pro Bowl selection, Dawkins is a member of the Philadelphia Eagles 75th Anniversary Team, the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team and the 20/20 Club (20 sacks, 20 interceptions). He played for the Eagles until his release in 2009, after which he signed with the Denver Broncos. He finished his Eagles career starting 182 of 183 games, recording 898 tackles, 34 interceptions, and 21 sacks.
Jeff McLane, Eagles beat reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, announced via Twitter (@Jeff_McLane) that there is the opportunity for Dawkins to sign and retire as an Eagle; where he rightfully belongs. Here’s McLane’s tweet:
Brian Dawkins, who just announced retirement, has an open invitation from the
#Eagles to come back and retire as Eagle, team source said.
As a fan of the Eagles, the NFL and football in general, I want to thank Brian Dawkins for playing his heart out every time he stepped out on the field and being a role model and inspiration to those who were fortunate enough to see him play. He embodied character, spirituality and determination. The entire Eagles Nation wishes him well and hopes that he will decide to retire as an Eagle. Weapon-X will be sorely missed by Eagles, Broncos and NFL football fans all over the world.
Update: As I finished up this article I noticed via Twitter that Geoff Mosher (@geoffmosher), Eagles correspondent for Sporting News, stated that Dawkins will indeed retire as an Eagle. Also, the Eagles are planning a ceremony of some sort to honor him. Full details have yet to be disclosed publicly.