2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Dawkins drops by the office on Day 1 of retirement

By ARNIE STAPLETON - AP Pro Football Writer
    2012-04-24 17:35

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Brian Dawkins spent his first day of retirement at the office.

The veteran safety, who is calling it a career after 16 seasons in the NFL, dropped by Broncos headquarters Tuesday to say his goodbyes and thank management for allowing him to play three seasons in Denver after his bitter divorce from the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009.

Dawkins went around the locker room gathering hugs and well wishes and then stopped by the Broncos draft room, where he jokingly covered his eyes, promising not to peek.

Team owner Pat Bowlen presented Dawkins with a framed No. 20 blue and orange jersey and Dawkins got one last chance to thank general manager Brian Xanders for bringing him to Denver and Broncos boss John Elway for keeping him here last season after an injury-filled 2010.

Dawkins promised not to be a stranger, then met with the media for 35 minutes before shaking everybody's hand in the room.

Donning a stylish brown beret, Dawkins looked relaxed, just like you'd expect from somebody who 24 hours earlier had announced he'd no longer be punching a clock.

Monday had been difficult for Dawkins, filled with emotion as so many friends and former teammates called to congratulate the perennial Pro Bowler about his decision and reminisce about the good times.

``But today it's a lot better,'' Dawkins said. ``Like I said yesterday, I'm at peace with the decision. It's more of a joy to be able to see these guys.''

Dawkins reiterated his desire to help coach his son's high school football team. Brian Jr. will be a sophomore next fall at Valor Christian in Highlands Ranch, south of Denver, where he plays receiver and cornerback.

And he pledged he was only a phone call away should the Broncos' young safeties, Quinton Carter and Rahim Moore, have any questions.

Recently signed free safety Mike Adams tweeted that he'll wear No. 20 in Denver in honor of Dawkins, adding that's why he wore that number in Cleveland in the first place.

That touched Dawkins, who called it ``kind of the ultimate as far as respect is concerned.''

``It always lets me know that I am up there in age, that I've played the game a long time,'' Dawkins added.

Nobody played safety in the NFL longer than Dawkins, 38, who logged 16 seasons as the position, his first 13 with the Eagles, whom he'll visit with on Saturday so he can bid farewell to Philadelphia's fans, too.

``It'll be tough and I know some of my teammates will come back, but it'll be tough, you know, to go back there to kind of close the door on that chapter of my life and move on,'' Dawkins said.

Dawkins, who declared Monday there was ``always going to be pain'' over the end of his 13-year run with the Eagles, said he still hadn't decided whether he'd sign a one-day deal to retire as an Eagle.

``I just want to take some time to think about it,'' he said.

Dawkins was known as much for his passion as his nine Pro Bowls. The humble, mild-mannered man would work himself into a frenzied, frothing hitting machine on Sundays.

Now, he said he'll channel that energy and enthusiasm into his workouts and coaching his kid - but don't expect to see him giving those crazed pregame speeches anymore.

``I'm more of a guy that encourages more, not a yeller or screamer, I'm not that type of a guy. I like to maybe take you to the side and explain it to you, really get into the details of what it is I'm trying to get you to understand,'' Dawkins said.

What Dawkins said he's really looking forward to is spending more face time with his family.

``That's one of the main reasons that I decided to step down, was to spend more time at the house, spend more time with my son. He's getting up there in age and being there for him is different when you're playing the game of football,'' Dawkins said.

``I spent so much time here. I spent a lot more time than the average cat. When I get here it's dark and when I leave here it's dark. So, I don't get to spend a lot of time talking with him and now I'll be able to do that a lot more.''

Looking back on his career, Dawkins said winning the 2004 NFC title game stood out and his late mentor, defensive coordinator Jim Johnson hugging him and yelling, ``Dawk, we did it! We did it.''

Dawkins didn't have nearly that kind of success in Denver, but he had memorable moments, like the time he first lined up with star cornerback Champ Bailey.

Thinking about the game plan and getting ready for his first snap with his new team, Dawkins couldn't help but marvel over his new lot.

``I looked to my left and I saw Champ,'' Dawkins recounted. ``It's going to sound crazy, but I'm like, `Man, I'm playing with Champ!'''

Bailey said the feeling was mutual.

``That's one of my highlights. I was fortunate enough to play with John Lynch. We all know what a special player he was, and I thought I would never play with a guy like Lynch again, and here comes Brian Dawkins,'' Bailey said.

As a member of the NFLPA executive committee, Dawkins pushed for new league rules that limited full contact during camp and in the regular season, and he said he's proud that part of his legacy is less hitting so that players' careers can last longer.

Yet, he lamented the league's crackdown on hard hits, which he suggested has had an unintended consequence with some defenders going after a guy's knees for fear that a high tackle will result in a flag or a fine and maybe even a suspension.

Take a look at any montage of Dawkins' hardest hits from early in his career and you'll realize most of those wouldn't be legal today.

``It's going to be tough for guys to continue to play the way that my generation played it, because of the way the rules are set up,'' Dawkins said. ``And the thing I'm concerned about now is where the hit zone is going to be. My hit zone is no longer going to be in the chest, it's going to be in the knees and you're going to see guys getting hit in the knees a lot more.''

When he was coming up, those types of tackles were taboo. Now, it's the other way around: the high hits are off-limits.

``So, that's the one thing that worries me about going forward,'' Dawkins said.

Dawkins' teammates lamented the loss of their heart and soul but celebrated his decision nonetheless.

``I would have loved to have had him back,'' Bailey said, ``but it's all about what's best for him and his family. I'm just happy that he was able to walk away with a smile on his face.''

So is linebacker Joe Mays, who played with Dawkins in both Philadelphia and Denver.

``It was lovely, man, just to be in his presence,'' Mays said. ``The type of player he was, the type of person he was ... those are some of the things that you take with you for a lifetime.''

---

Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Kirk CousinsSep 23 09:52p

Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden did not rule out QB Kirk Cousins permanently replacing QB Robert Griffin III at quarterback. 'Crazy things have happened in NFL,' Gruden said. [ More ]

Bishop SankeySep 23 09:23p

Tennessee Titans RB Bishop Sankey was on the field for a season-high 27 snaps in Week 3, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt said Sankey's play will dictate his future [ More ]

Brandon BostickSep 23 09:03p

Green Bay Packers TE Brandon Bostick took a full workload on special teams in Week 2 and Week 3, and offensive coordinator Tom Clements said he should become a [ More ]

Rob GronkowskiSep 23 08:33p

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) played a season-high 42 snaps in Week 3, and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said a further increase in playing time is coming. [ More ]

Chris JohnsonSep 23 07:53p

New York Jets RB Chris Ivory has forced .42 missed tackles per touch this year, while RB Chris Johnson has forced only .12 missed tackles per touch.

Mike TolbertSep 23 07:23p

Carolina Panthers FB Mike Tolbert (knee) has been placed on the Reserve Injured/Designated for Return list Tuesday, Sept. 23, with a hairline fracture in his knee. Tolbert will not [ More ]

Riley CooperSep 23 07:13p

Philadelphia Eagles WR Riley Cooper leads all wide receivers in routes run, according to Cecil Lammey of ESPN Denver, but has totaled just nine catches for 71 yards.

Jake LockerSep 23 06:53p

Tennessee Titans QB Jake Locker (wrist) has a wrist strain, according to an MRI. The quarterback's status for Week 4 is still uncertain.

Mark AsperSep 23 06:43p

New York Giants OG Mark Asper was released Tuesday, Sept. 23.

Marcus ThigpenSep 23 06:33p

The Miami Dolphins re-signed DT Bruce Gaston and signed free-agent RB Marcus Thigpen (Patriots) to their practice squad Tuesday, Sept. 23.

Tommy StreeterSep 23 06:33p

Miami Dolphins WR Tommy Streeter was released Tuesday, Sept. 23.

Ryan TannehillSep 23 06:33p

Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill is scheduled to start this weekend in London against the Oakland Raiders, despite head coach Joe Philbin repeatedly not committing to Tannehill as the starter.

Dennis PittaSep 23 06:23p

The Baltimore Ravens placed TE Dennis Pitta (hip) on Reserve/Injured Tuesday, Sept. 23, officially ending the tight end's season.

Shaun DraughnSep 23 06:13p

The San Diego Chargers signed free-agent RB Shaun Draughn (Bears) to an undisclosed one-year deal Tuesday, Sept. 23, according to Draughn's agent.

Lavar EdwardsSep 23 06:13p

The Dallas Cowboys re-signed DE Lavar Edwards to an undisclosed deal Tuesday, Sept. 23.

Josh BellamySep 23 06:13p

Chicago Bears WR Josh Bellamy, Dallas Cowboys LB Keith Smith, Detroit Lions PK Nate Freese and Tampa Bay Buccaneers CB Rashaan Melvin cleared waivers and became free agents Tuesday, Sept. 23.

Ellis LanksterSep 23 06:13p

New York Jets CB Ellis Lankster was released Tuesday, Sept. 23.

Chris OwusuSep 23 06:03p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Owusu was placed on no-recall waivers Tuesday, Sept. 23.

Lawrence GuySep 23 06:03p

San Diego Chargers CB Marcus Cromartie (groin) and DE Lawrence Guy were placed on no-recall waivers Tuesday, Sept. 23.

Chris ProsinskiSep 23 06:03p

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Marcel Jensen, FS Chris Prosinski (elbow) and WR Kerry Taylor were placed on no-recall waivers Tuesday, Sept. 23.

Ryan TannehillSep 23 05:23p

Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill may still be on thin ice as head coach Joe Philbin was again noncommittal regarding the quarterback starting Week 4. 'At the end of [ More ]

Vincent JacksonSep 23 05:13p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson (wrist) wasn't limited in practice Monday, Sept. 22, after sustaining a slight wrist fracture in Week 3. He had his wrist wrapped Monday.

T.J. GrahamSep 23 05:13p

The Tennessee Titans signed TE Chase Coffman and waived WR T.J. Graham Tuesday, Sept. 23.

Chris IvorySep 23 05:03p

New York Jets RB Chris Ivory may get more playing time, according to head coach Rex Ryan. Ivory and Chris Johnson both had 10 carries against the Chicago Bears [ More ]

Geno SmithSep 23 05:03p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith remains the team's starting quarterback, according to head coach Rex Ryan. 'Everybody is behind Geno. He's our quarterback and our football team believes in him,' Ryan said.

Eric DeckerSep 23 05:03p

New York Jets WR Eric Decker's (hamstring) status for this weekend remains unknown. Head coach Rex Ryan is hopeful that the wide receiver will be able to play.

Vernon DavisSep 23 04:43p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis (ankle) said his ankle is doing much better and he is reportedly looking better with no sign of a limp.

Brian OrakpoSep 23 04:43p

Washington Redskins LB Brian Orakpo (finger) is expecting to play in Week 4 against the New York Giants Thursday, Sept. 25, with a hard cast on his left hand. [ More ]

Danny TrevathanSep 23 04:33p

Denver Broncos LB Danny Trevathan (knee) is expected to be back at practice with the team next week, according to head coach John Fox. Trevathan said he'd be at [ More ]

Mike PounceySep 23 03:53p

Miami Dolphins C Mike Pouncey (hip) is making progress with his hip injury, according to head coach Joe Philbin. The coaches are monitoring him every day to see if he is ready to play.

Kedric GolstonSep 23 03:23p

Washington Redskins DE Chris Baker (ankle, hip) fully participated in practice Tuesday, Sept. 23. DE Kedric Golston (groin), DE Jason Hatcher (hamstring), LB Akeem Jordan (knee), DE Frank Kearse [ More ]

Steve WeatherfordSep 23 03:03p

New York Giants CB Zackary Bowman (quadriceps), LB Jon Beason (foot, toe), OT James Brewer (back), OT Charles Brown (shoulder) and P Steve Weatherford (ankle) all were limited in [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group