Class of 2018 Finalist Spotlight: Brian Dawkins

Class of 2018 Finalist Spotlight: Brian Dawkins

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Philadelphia Eagles legend Brian Dawkins was recently named a finalist for the Class of 2018. If elected, he would become the 26th defensive back enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This would also be the second time in Hall of Fame history to have back-to-back classes to feature a pure safety.

The Philadelphia Eagles selected Dawkins out of Clemson in the second round, 61st overall, of the 1996 NFL Draft. Over the next 16 seasons, Dawkins exuded excellence on the field as he quickly became one of the most accomplished safeties in the league.

Dawkins started 13 of the 14 games he played in during his rookie season as he became a vital member of the Eagles defense. In his first professional season, he earned 74 tackles (53 solo), three interceptions, one sack, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. He went on to lead Philadelphia in interceptions the following two years (1997-98) and earned a team tackle title in 2002.

From 2001-04, Dawkins led the Eagles defensive that was vital to four NFC championship game appearances. The Eagles fell short each year until 2004 when they blazed through the playoffs and beat the Atlanta Falcons 27-10 in the NFC championship. Philadelphia then faced the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX as Dawkins made his only Super Bowl appearance. 

After 13 seasons with the Eagles and five team Defensive MVP Awards, Dawkins was signed by Denver as an unrestricted free agent shortly after the conclusion of the 2008 season. Dawkins still holds several Eagles team records, including being tied for the most career interceptions (34).

His success continued in Denver. Dawkins posted remarkable stats on the field and he also received the Denver Broncos Ed Block Courage Award in 2009.

In all, Dawkins played 224 career games with the Eagles (1996-2008) and the Broncos (2009-2011). He amassed a total of 1,131 tackles (895 solo), intercepted 37 passes which he returned for 513 yards and two touchdowns, recorded 26 sacks, and made 19 fumble recoveries.

A nine-time Pro Bowler, Dawkins was named All-Pro and All-NFC five times. In addition to being named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s, Dawkins is a member of the Eagles 75th Anniversary Team and the Exclusive NFL Defensive Club (players with at least 35 career interceptions and 20 career sacks).

After hanging up his cleats, Dawkins joined ESPN has an analyst. He then headed back to the Eagles as a scout intern and was quickly promoted to Football Operations Executive, focusing on player development. 


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