Brian Dawkins: I Want To Go Up Front Office Ladder
Seven years after Brian Dawkins’ messy breakup with the Eagles and the ensuing tension his departure created, it appears the strained relationship has dissipated. The Eagles announced Saturday morning the eight-time Pro Bowler has been added to the team’s scouting department, before Dawkins attended practice a few hours later and explained how excited he is.
“That stuff is gone. There’s nothing we can do about it to change any of those things,” Dawkins said. “This place means too much to me. It’s not about the people who run it. It’s about the place. It’s about the Eagle green. People can come and go, but this will remain the same. That’s what drives me to want to do more for this organization.
“I’m very excited about this opportunity. I really am. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and it just so happened we were able to talk about it and get something done.”
The Eagles Hall of Famer is the team’s first Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellow, which is a new program launched by the NFL to introduce former players to the world of player personnel. He will work closely with every element of the scouting and football operations departments, and he’ll learn about strength and conditioning, sports science and other team-building aspects.
Dawkins will be exposed to a plethora of people, who will lead him around for a day or two in varying areas of interest. He will also have the opportunity to make college visits.
“It’s not just scouting. I’m trying to grasp the whole gambit of football operations of how a team is run,” Dawkins said. “I’m learning about the scouting part of it — the terminology and all those things — but sometimes, it’s either you have an eye or you don’t. And I’ve been blessed to have an eye to be able to see talent. So if I can help in that respect, I’d love to do that, but also, I want to learn everything about running a football team.
“Sometimes, you’ve gotta step out of your comfort zone to really see what you can achieve. So this is something that I’m really looking forward to seeing if this is something that will move to something even bigger.”
What’s bigger? General Manager?
“Bigger is bigger. I don’t know what bigger is, I just know bigger is not where I’m standing right now. Whatever bigger is, then that’s what we’re shooting for,” Dawkins said. “Every step of my way in football, I did the exact same thing. Pop Warner, high school, college, pros, and now, hopefully, front office. Work your way up.”
Roseman pointed to Ravens General Manager and Hall of Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome as an example of where this type of climb has been successful, before noting that Dawkins’ leadership ability translates to the front office as well. Roseman wants more players involved in the scouting department, which is why the team discussed a former Eagle internship program before the NFL created this fellowship.
One of the first calls Roseman made after regaining power this year, he says, was to Dawkins to see how he could get the former safety involved with the team. Dawkins assisted the Eagles in draft evaluation in both 2014 and 2016.
“His evaluations, they’re good, and he looks at it from a different lens than we look at it,” Roseman said. “For him to be able to go there and see things that none of us who haven’t played the position won’t see, it’s great for us as well.
“There are guys that are on this team from this draft and the 2014 draft, that he was standing on the table for. Obviously, we gave him guys we liked. We’re not giving him guys we didn’t like, so that he can be discouraged when we didn’t draft them or sign them. But he had passion for these guys. For him to come out here and see the guys he felt strongly of, just like our scouts, and see them on the team, I think that also gives him hope that we’ll listen; that we’re listening and taking his perspective as a part of the equation.”
Dawkins offered his first public scouting evaluation to the media Saturday afternoon, while discussing his former teammate and new head coach Doug Pederson.
“The one thing you also see is the quality of the coaches that he brought,” Dawkins said. “Guys who have been in the league [and] that have done it before, so he’s not doing it by himself the first time. To me, he’s a builder, and he’s going to have this place going back in the direction it needs to go for these guys to believe in one another, come back together and perform. The decision making on game day, those are things that are going to be a challenge for him. But at the same time, because he’s been through it a little bit in Kansas City given the range to call some plays, he’ll be successful.
“Not everybody can have success in Philadelphia. Not every athlete can play in Philadelphia. They can’t. Some people can’t handle it. They can’t handle the toughness; they can’t handle the tough love. So I think Doug going through it, and the fact that he’s more of an even-keeled type of guy, he can handle some of the bumps that they’re probably going to face, especially early on on the offensive side of the ball.”