Q&A with Brian Dawkins

Former Clemson safety Brian Dawkins signed a contract today with the Denver Broncos.

The Denver Broncos signed seven-time Pro Bowl safety and former Clemson Tiger Brian Dawkins, who had previously spent his entire 13-year career with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Dawkins, who turns 36 next season and is clearly on the downside of his career, brings a hard-hitting style and leadership qualities coveted by new Broncos coach Josh McDaniels.

Here is what Dawkins had to say after signing his new contract in the Mile High City:

What are your overall thoughts on this move?
Dawkins: Wow. This is an absolute blessing. I'm a blessed man. You guys here in Denver will get used to me saying that because I am a blessed man. I realize that I have been blessed to play a lot of years in the league. I was blessed to play for a great organization and come to another great organization. I'm just looking so much forward to the prospects ahead with this team. I was able to meet some of the young guys that I am going to have a privilege of playing with and we're all jacked. I'm kind of jumping around with my words right now because I'm so emotional and excited for this opportunity. It's a new thing for me-free agent and being able to move on to a new team that, like Josh said, wanted me just as much as I wanted to be here.

Why did you choose to sign with Denver?
Dawkins: Just hearing Josh and how excited he was and how much they wanted me here. I was not just a want for them. They felt more like it was a necessity for me to be here. That's something that every player wants to feel from an organization. I know what they have on the offensive side of the ball and I waned to help bring something to the defensive side of the ball. I told them in one of the first conversations I had with them that if I do come here and that is the route, then I'm here. I'm going to give you what I got. That may include some things that you have only read about.

Was it tough to leave Philadelphia?
Dawkins: This is a time to talk about Denver and the fans here. I will tell you that I have never-it was never dwindling with the fans there in Philadelphia. Yeah, absolutely (it was bittersweet). I can be honest with that. Like I said, this is a day to celebrate myself, my family, the blessing that the Lord has given me with this great organization.

Did Champ Bailey recruiting you to Denver play a role in this move?
Dawkins: I don't know about a determining factor, but I will say that it was a huge plus. I've had an opportunity to play with some pretty good cornerbacks. Good cornerbacks like that make my job a lot easier. He's definitely one of those great cornerbacks that I'll have a privilege of playing with.

What do you think about Denver's scheme and players?
Dawkins: We are going to go into this thing and we are going to get on the same accord right away. Obviously we are going to have a lot of new faces. The thing about it is you try to gel as quickly as possible. Once we gel and once everybody understands their role-you just do your role, you don't have to do anything outside of your role. If my job is to penetrate in this gap then I am going to do that because I know my guy beside me is doing the same exact thing in his gap. If that's the mentality that everybody is taking care of their gap and dominating their gap then we are going to be a pretty good doggone defense and create turnovers along the way.

A lot of people around the league talk about your leadership. What is your leadership style?
Dawkins: I only know how to be one way and I genuinely care for the guys that I play with. Those are not words. I tell them, and they may roll their eyes, but I tell them that I love them. That's the type of relationship that I try to build. We have conversations not just about football. Whatever may be on their hearts to talk about, we talk about those things. We get to know each other on and off the field.

You are also known around the league as someone who gives back to the community. Can you talk about that?
Dawkins: I've been blessed so much in the time that I've been in the NFL. It's a part of who I am to give because I believe in my faith. To whom much is given, much is required. Hopefully once I get out here, once I get my feet on the ground I'll be able to step out and see what areas the Lord would have me step into.

What do you think about your new head coach, Josh McDaniels?
Dawkins: I talked to Josh just a little bit about one of my coaches in Philadelphia, (Secondary Coach) Sean McDermott. They remind me of one another. (McDaniels) was very bright and very enthusiastic of what the vision is for this team. Not winning later, not building nothing, but starting and winning right away. I bought into it and I drank the orange Kool-Aid. It's not about his age, it's about his passion and leadership and I bought into it right away.

How many more years do you think you can play?
Dawkins: As many as he (God) blesses me to play at a high level. I have always said that. As long as I can play at a high level injury-free and can give-as long as the guys that I am going to get to know here in a couple of months-as long as they trust me to make the plays that I need to make.

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