Andy Reid, who would obviously have a say in whether or not a deal does get done, has always been a big fan of Dawkins. "He's a great leader," emphasized the Eagles coach. "He's an emotional, tough, leader and football player. And, even a better person than all that."
As Dawkins ponders just how long his career will go on and where he'll be at the end of his long career, it seems as though the emotions of it all are sinking in. In a television interview earlier this week, Dawkins broke down when talking about his relationship with the team and its fans. "That's the type of person that I am. I'm an emotional guy, especially on the field," said Dawkins about the interview. "Just the questions of Philadelphia and what this city has meant for me and my family, how much I've been blessed by it, the experience of playing in the National Football League, and not in my wildest dreams ever expecting to be at this point."
Another thing that Dawkins admits he's thought about a time or two is whether or not he'll ever warrant consideration for the Hall of Fame. "I'm not going to say every player dreams of that, but I would suspect that every player at some point in their existence as a football player, or athlete in general, would think about that one day they are able to be blessed to go into the Hall [of Fame]. That's a big thing," admitted Dawkins, who will be making his first trip to the Hall of Fame when the Eagles play the Raiders Sunday night. Not coincidentally, the game will come on the heels of the induction of former Eagle Reggie White, who Dawkins still fondly remembers.
"Well, meeting him, that big man, that big, raspy voice. He's a prankster too, had a good time," laughed Dawkins. The Eagles' safety remembers his first meeting with White well, but noted that his respect for him was developed well before the two ever met. "It happened for me in college, I didn't know him, hadn't met him, but I was searching for something. And that in which I was searching was demonstrated to me by him in his faith and the way he played on the field. He dominated on the field, but he never backed down on who he was, as a man of God. That helped me and blessed me tremendously and I am actually the player I am today," said Dawkins.
So, does Dawkins figure that he'll make a return trip for his induction someday? "There aren't a lot of safeties in the Hall. The way the game is played with us safeties now, I think it's a lot different than what the majority of safeties; let's face it, there have always been safeties that have been able to do a multitude of things. But, I think the game plans and the way that we play defense now, and how they are using safeties now, it's a little bit different than back then. So, my numbers won't be, I think, the way that some of theirs were," believes Dawkins.
Other thoughts from Brian Dawkins...
On whether he thinks that winning a Super Bowl is a big factor in getting inducted in the Hall of Fame:
"I think it's a factor. A big factor; I don't know. I don't have a vote; don't know how people vote who have been voting for a long time, so I don't know how big or significant that is. I'm pretty sure it won't hurt you, let's put it like that. It definitely will help you."
On whether seeing the Hall of Fame is special and whether it is something to aspire to be a part of one day:
"Absolutely, if I ever get a chance to walk through those halls, just certain lockers, certain areas, and certain statues that I would love to see in there. [Former FS] Ronnie Lott would be one of my firsts that I would definitely go to, and [former Eagles DE] Reggie [White] when he finally gets his in there, I would love to see that one also. So, there are a couple more I would love to see."
On whether it seemed to him that play on both sides of the ball were elevated during today's practice, especially during live periods:
"We got some good live work. The offense, they had a good, a great day today. You really saw them making plays, left and right with the ball, especially in the red zone, down there making some plays in the red zone. And that's a plus, when you go back and forth like that, when the defense wins a little bit and the offense wins, that's building something. That's building a juggernaut, when the offense continues to beat the defense, that's not a good thing. When the defense is continuing to beat the defense, that's not a good thing. But, when you go back and forth like that, that's going to work in your favor in the long run."
On how CB Lito Sheppard looks to him:
"He's working his way back in and going through the injuries that he's had with that foot and that groin and all that stuff, those are two tough things to have to come back from, especially with the things that he has to do at his position. The quick change that he has to make, there's no thinking that I'm about to make this cut, so let my foot so it doesn't hurt. He has to do it regardless, so you see him working his way back in. I doubt he's 100% yet, but I'm definitely happy to have him back out there with us."
On whether he sees CB Rod Hood's confidence rising since Lito isn't practicing as much:
"You saw that last year, when he stepped in and stepped into the situation. He had to step in and did an excellent job for us, [he] was actually a strength out there. You may think that a guy gets in; you take a step down, but no. He was a strength for us. We counted on him to hold it down out there and he is doing the same thing this year. I think he's a little bit more focused this year than last year. From last year's experience, that success, I think lets him understand what it is that he could potentially do in this league."
On whether the kids wearing his jersey and his fans and everything around him is what keeps him going year after year where some other guys may get a big head:
"I guess. I am, I mean this is Popeye, 'I am who I am and I am what I am,' and all that stuff. But, I'm a man and I try to stay humble in everything that I receive because I know I'm blessed. I'm blessed to do what I do and you guys have heard me say this before, of me doing what I'm doing. Why is it me? Why am I up here, doing what I'm doing? [There were] so many people that were more talented than me. I'm not the biggest dude in the world. You may look at me in my upper body... My upper body might be big, but my [legs are] not real big. But, people think that I'm big, but I'm not that big of a guy. You have so many guys that even I played with in college, in high school, that were faster and bigger than me. But, it was something else in me that was pulled out in college with my faith and being a blessed man of God that here I am today, doing what I'm doing and everyday I thank him and I humble myself everyday. Every time that my head tries to swell up and I can sense it, I back myself back down and understand that it's blessings that I've been given."
On RB Bruce Perry and whether it seems like the harder he gets hit, the harder he runs:
"I think you would have seen that last year a little bit when he had the opportunity to get in and he proved that he's a viable player once he stays healthy. That's just been the thing with him; he's not been able to stay on the field because of injuries and not just knickknacks. I'm talking about some serious, serious injuries he's had. So, when he's able to stay on the field and get use of the contact like you're saying, he's able to show what he can do. He has great balance and you've seen that, you saw that in scrimmage today. There is another weapon that is going to be challenging for a spot here on this team."
On how he prepares for a preseason game opposed to a regular season game and whether he worries about getting hurt:
"No, when you're out there you have to play, you have to play. You have to put your best on the field when you're out there and not think about injuries and all that stuff. You have to play ball, especially in the situation we are in, coming off of a 6-10 season, there is something we want to build going into the first game as a defensive unit. As a team also, but I'm speaking defensively because that's where I am. There's something we want to build and that first preseason game, however long we are in there as a first unit, that's that first positive reinforcement that we are going to need. And hopefully we can go from the second game, the third game, and on into the first game [of the regular season] and we've had so many good series in those games that in that first game, we know what we are about."
On whether he is looking forward to hitting someone from another team and is getting tired of going up against his teammates during practice:
"Contact is contact, but yeah. You get tired of hitting your own guys and you don't quite hit your guys as hard as you are going to hit opposing teams. So, it is a little different."
On who has impressed him the most in camp:
"I mean, big catch-wise, you've seen it and before I even say it, you are probably going to know who I'm going to say, [WR Hank] Baskett is making every catch that comes his way. He's a kid that standing out and he is making the spectacular catches, he's making the common catch and he's doing a good job. Going through this camp, it's a tough camp, you guys know, you guys are out here, you see the practices. You know how much [head coach] Andy [Reid] runs those guys and how much fatigue plays a key role into some of the guys getting tweaks and all that stuff because they are not used to running the way that we run with this team coming from college. So, when those guys are able to push through those injuries and still be able to make the catches that he's making, it's a big thing, it's a big thing."
On this being his 11th year with the Eagles and whether he appreciates and savors every year more now that he's further into his career:
"I can say yes and yes would be a good answer. But, truthfully, I've appreciated it for a long time and it's the same for me. It goes back to what I said earlier, I never expected to be where I am and I'm blessed to do what I do and I savor that, I savor that. I savor the relationships that I've had from [former Eagles head coach] Ray [Rhodes] and [former Eagles defensive coordinator] Emmet [Thomas] and those guys to [former Eagles CB's] Troy [Vincent] and Bobby [Taylor], those guys left and with the guys that I'm here with; with Lito and [CB] Sheldon [Brown] and [SS] Mike [Lewis] and those guys in the back end, where [LB Jeremiah] Trot[ter] is. I savor all of that stuff, so I can't say that because my career might be coming to an end in the next six years or so, that I'm holding onto things now more than I did back in the day because, like I said, I don't know if I get it or if I don't get it, but that's just who I am."
On being humble and whether he views S J.R. Reed as a humble person, coming back from his injury:
"People are definitely impressed, coming back from the injury that he came from. And I went through, not the severity that he came from with his injury, that was a tremendous area that he got injured in. There's not a lot of, I don't think, research that's been done with that area, as far as a puncture wound to that area. But, for me, when I hurt my foot, that's the same thing, that they were kind of questioning me, 'Oh, he's close to 30, you know what happens to safeties that are close to 30? And now he has a foot injury and now he is going to definitely slow down.' So, when you push through those things like he's doing, it's definitely going to, I don't know if people on the field, but even some of the people off the field, who maybe have an injury or something like that can look at a story like his and see him back on this field and take something from it."