2013 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

Josh MorganApr 22 09:52a

Chicago Bears WR Joshua Morgan is likely to compete for the No. 3 or 4 wide receiver role this year, and he'll compete with WRs Domenik Hixon, Eric Weems [ More ]

Will HillApr 22 09:33a

New York Giants FS Will Hill is facing a year-long suspension after reportedly failing another drug test. He will appeal what would be his third drug-related suspension.

Kyle WilliamsApr 21 09:33p

The Kansas City Chiefs re-signed WR Kyle Williams Monday, April 21. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Colt AndersonApr 21 07:12p

The Indianapolis Colts signed free-agent FS Colt Anderson (Eagles) to an undisclosed deal Monday, April 21.

Jamar TaylorApr 21 06:43p

Miami Dolphins CB Jamar Taylor (groin) is healthy following hernia surgery and began offseason workouts with his teammates Monday, April 21. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said he expects [ More ]

Dustin KellerApr 21 05:42p

Eugene Parker, agent for free-agent TE Dustin Keller (knee), said Keller is ready to participate in offseason workouts when he signs with a team.

Eric FisherApr 21 05:12p

Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher (shoulder, hernia) said there is no timetable for his return following multiple surgeries, but he doesn't think he'll be out for long. 'He's [ More ]

Josh MorganApr 21 04:02p

The Chicago Bears have signed free-agent WR Joshua Morgan (Redskins) to a one-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

A.J. GreenApr 21 03:32p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green said he has added around six pounds this offseason, because he wants to be more physical as a way to beat coverage at the [ More ]

Michael VickApr 21 02:42p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith said he believes he will be the starting quarterback this upcoming season even though the team added QB Michael Vick this offseason. He [ More ]

Navorro BowmanApr 21 02:12p

The San Francisco 49ers plan to place LB NaVorro Bowman (knee) on the Physically Unable to Perform list when training camp begins, because he is not expected to be [ More ]

Eric FisherApr 21 02:02p

Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher (shoulder, hernia) underwent shoulder surgery and had a procedure to fix a sports hernia. He's currently rehabbing in Kansas City.

Tony CarterApr 21 01:22p

The Denver Broncos signed DT Mitch Unrein to his restricted free-agent tender Monday, April 21. CB Tony Carter, SS Duke Ihenacho and LB Brandon M. Marshall all signed their exclusive rights tenders.

Rolando McClainApr 21 01:02p

Baltimore Ravens LB Rolando McClain is retiring from the NFL again Monday, April 21. 'I gotta follow my heart. It ain't football. If football made me complete I would [ More ]

Tony RomoApr 21 12:42p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) will take part in the team's voluntary offseason program beginning Monday, April 21, according to a source. Players are allowed to lift weights, [ More ]

Marcus LattimoreApr 20 09:12p

San Francisco 49ers RB Marcus Lattimore (knee) is not expected to be restricted in any way when offseason workouts begin.

Michael EgnewApr 20 08:42p

The Miami Dolphins likely will add at least two more tight ends this offseason that will compete with TE Michael Egnew for a roster spot.

Armon BinnsApr 20 12:02a

Miami Dolphins WR Armon Binns is currently the team's No. 4 receiver, but the Dolphins have had discussions about WR Rishard Matthews replacing Binns at the spot, according to a source.

Tyrone CrawfordApr 20 12:02a

Dallas Cowboys DT Tyrone Crawford (Achilles') is expected to be ready for the team's offseason program, and he is expected to be a key piece to the defense this season.

M. Jones-DrewApr 20 12:02a

If healthy, Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden is expected to be the team's starting tailback with RB Maurice Jones-Drew as his backup.

Brian HartlineApr 20 12:02a

Miami Dolphins WR Brian Hartline (knee) is expected to be ready for the start of mini camp, according to a source. He suffered a torn posterior cruciate ligament in the 2013 regular season finale.

Terrelle PryorApr 19 01:02p

The Oakland Raiders will release QB Terrelle Pryor if they are not able to trade him by Monday, April 21.

LaMichael JamesApr 19 12:22p

The Kansas City Chiefs could consider pursuing San Francisco 49ers RB LaMichael James if he could become a slot receiver. The team likely would not have interest in James [ More ]

Matt HasselbeckApr 19 12:22p

Indianapolis Colts QB Matt Hasselbeck plans to retire after the 2014 season.

Asa JacksonApr 19 12:12p

Baltimore Ravens CBs Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson are expected to compete for the No. 3 cornerback job during training camp. If the team takes a cornerback in one [ More ]

Michael FordApr 19 11:32a

The Chicago Bears probably will select a running back in the later rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft to compete with RB Michael Ford for the No. 2 running [ More ]

Jordan PalmerApr 19 09:52a

The Chicago Bears could target a quarterback in the late rounds of the NFL Draft or in free agency to provide competition for backup QB Jordan Palmer.

Cam NewtonApr 19 09:32a

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (ankle) remains in a walking boot about a month after ankle surgery. The team is hopeful Newton will be ready to go for training camp.

Michael RobinsonApr 19 12:02a

The Seattle Seahawks have not tried to re-sign free-agent FB Michael Robinson this offseason.

Russell AllenApr 18 11:42p

The Jacksonville Jaguars released LB Russell Allen (concussion) after he failed a physical.

Kendrick LewisApr 18 08:32p

Houston Texans FS Kendrick Lewis and SS Chris D. Clemons are expected to compete for the starting free safety job during training camp.

Trent RichardsonApr 18 08:22p

Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said it will be important for RB Trent Richardson to participate in all of the offseason workouts so he can get more comfortable [ 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