One of the bigger surprises of the NFL’s free agent period was the departure of Eagles safety Brian Dawkins to the Denver Broncos, and the sports blogosphere’s reaction that followed. Many Philly-based blogs emoted surprise and disappointment to Dawkins being let go, despite many acknowledging his waning skills. From Sports Radio Interviews, who linked to audio of Dawkins cutting an interview short because he was too upset to continue:
Brian Dawkins understands the Philadelphia fan mentality better than any other athlete that I’ve ever seen. That’s the main reason why he was and will always be so beloved in the city of brotherly love. That’s the reason why if you went to an Eagles game you would see as many Dawkins jerseys as you would McNabb and Westbrook.
Brian Dawkins’ skill, effort, determination, and leadership was unmatched. It doesn’t seem like a stretch at all to say he may be the greatest Eagle we’ve ever seen…You can bet we’ll be watching him play in Denver though, with the large majority of Eagles fans nationwide even cheering him on while wearing another team’s colors. He may not be an Eagle anymore, but he’s still the player that most embodies this fanbase.
And even Deadspin’s A.J. Daulerio gave props to the guy who helped lead his team to the NFC Championship:
This is a sad day for Philadelphia Eagles fans…One of the best parts about the Philadelphia Eagles this year was the ridiculous play of Dawkins. He made it well-past the usual Eagles expiration date age and even though he’s been slowed by injuries the past two seasons, this year he reinvigorated a defensive unit that wouldn’t have been as successful were he not on the field. You know, except the 4th quarter of the NFC Championship game.
It’s a pretty amazing outpouring for a defensive player that, almost everyone agrees, has his best games behind him. When Donovan McNabb leaves Philly, the apathy will be will be measured in nanoseconds, provided Philadelphia-area fans can define “apathy” and “nanosecond.”