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

Tony HillsNov 27 03:22p

The Dallas Cowboys have declared LB Dekoda Watson, OG Donald Hawkins, QB Dustin Vaughan, FS Jeff Heath, DL Joshua Brent, OT Tony Hills, CB Tyler Patmon inactive for Week 13.

Taylor HartNov 27 03:12p

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, DB Jaylen Watkins, WR Jeff Maehl, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, CB Rashad Carmichael, DE Taylor Hart inactive for Week 13.

Kyle FullerNov 27 11:32a

Chicago Bears CB Kyle Fuller (knee) will play in the team's Week 13 game against the Detroit Lions. Fuller had been questionable during the week.

Lance BriggsNov 27 11:22a

The Chicago Bears have declared WR Chris X. Williams, LB Darryl Sharpton, OT Eben Britton, DL Jeremiah Ratliff, LB Lance Briggs, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott inactive for Week Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

The Detroit Lions have declared QB Kellen Moore, OG Larry Warford, DE Larry Webster, DL Nick Fairley, RB Reggie Bush, OT Riley Reiff, WR Ryan Broyles inactive for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is inactive Thursday, Nov. 27, for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 10:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is out for Week 13 Thursday, Nov. 27. His ankle isn't responding well enough, but the hope is to return for Week 14.

R. Griffin IIINov 27 09:53a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III is highly unlikely to return to the team next season, sources within the organization said. Head coach Jay Gruden convinced owner Daniel Snyder [ More ]

Jimmy StatenNov 26 09:43p

The Seattle Seahawks signed free-agent DT Jimmy Staten (Seahawks) to their practice squad Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also released OT Andrew McDonald from their practice squad.

Marcus ThigpenNov 26 09:03p

The Buffalo Bills claimed WR Marcus Thigpen off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also waived DE Bryan Johnson.

Richard GordonNov 26 09:03p

The Tennessee Titans waived TE Richard Gordon Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 08:33p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Dwayne AllenNov 26 07:33p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

C. PattersonNov 26 06:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jerick McKinnonNov 26 06:13p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Brandon LaFellNov 26 06:03p

New England Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jace AmaroNov 26 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (head) is not expected to play in Week 13, because he is going through the concussion protocol.

Reggie BushNov 26 04:53p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle, back) was limited in practice for the third straight day Wednesday, Nov. 26, and is questionable for Week 13 against the Chicago Bears.

Jordan CameronNov 26 04:43p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) remains day-to-day, but the team is looking for him to practice symptom-free this week, according to head coach Mike Pettine.

Jordan ReedNov 26 04:13p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

R. Griffin IIINov 26 02:53p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III needs more seasoning, and he'll likely do it from the bench for the rest of this season, according to head coach Jay Gruden. [ More ]

Arian FosterNov 26 02:33p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) has an excellent chance to return in Week 13 against the Tennessee Titans after missing the last two games.

Mark SanchezNov 26 02:23p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Mark Sanchez has thrown six interceptions this year, but all of them haven't been game-changing turnovers. In Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans, Sanchez thrived on [ More ]

Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 01:53p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) felt some progress in his sprained left medial collateral ligament Tuesday, Nov. 25, according to head coach Bruce Arians. Fitzgerald was pretty upset [ More ]

Julius ThomasNov 26 01:23p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) was limited at practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Phil LoadholtNov 26 12:33p

Minnesota Vikings OT Phil Loadholt (pectoral) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Geno SmithNov 26 12:23p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith will return to the starting quarterback role in Week 13 against the Miami Dolphins, after QB Michael Vick saw only three starts. The [ More ]

Timothy WrightNov 26 10:43a

New England Patriots TE Tim Wright has 23 catches on 26 targets this season. 'Every time we throw to him it's a touchdown - we'll try to find him [ More ]

R. Griffin IIINov 26 09:43a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III has officially been benched in favor of QB Colt McCoy in Week 13. Head coach Jay Gruden informed the team Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Colt McCoyNov 26 09:43a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III has officially been benched in favor of QB Colt McCoy in Week 13. Head coach Jay Gruden informed the team Wednesday, Nov. 26.

R. Griffin IIINov 25 11:43p

The Washington Redskins are planning on benching QB Robert Griffin III for the Week 13 game against the Indianapolis Colts in favor of QB Colt McCoy. However, Griffin still [ More ]

Jace AmaroNov 25 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (concussion) is in concussion protocol, according to head coach Rex Ryan, after suffering the concussion in Week 12 against the Buffalo Bills.

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