Dawkins: ‘It Feels Wonderful’ Returning To Eagles

Dawkins discusses his role with the organization and his goals for the future.

Brian Dawkins and Tra Thomas. (Jeff Fusco)

Brian Dawkins and Tra Thomas. (Jeff Fusco)

During Howie Roseman’s press conference discussing the Dorial Green-Beckham trade, he noted how the Eagles had just hired Brian Dawkins to work for the team full-time as a Football Operations Executive. Dawkins appeared on the Mike Missanelli show yesterday to expand on what he’ll do for the Birds and how his new gig came about.

“It feels wonderful, it really does. It’s been set in my heart for a while of how to go about doing it. But everything began to kind of fall in place and here I am,” Dawkins said. “It’s gonna be still learning about football operations and everything that goes with it. I’ll dabble in player development; I’ll dabble in player engagement; dabble in scouting and give my opinions in a lot of different areas. So it’s not just everything in one basket so to speak, I’m able to do a lot of things for this organization going forward.”

Dawkins added that Roseman spoke to him when Chip Kelly was still around, but Dawkins was at ESPN, a place he felt very comfortable at since joining the network in 2012. For the most part, Dawkins will stay at his current home in Denver. He’ll work in Philadelphia for a set number of days per month, with the amount of days fluctuating throughout the year.

Another role he’s expected to take is as a mentor for some players, notably Green-Beckham. Dawkins hopes this new opportunity the second-year wideout has can redefine who he is and “put a stamp” on what his legacy will be.

He also liked what he saw from Carson Wentz against Tampa Bay, but with the rookie quarterback’s injury, he said Wentz will lose valuable experience on the field.

“The thought process behind that was just kind of give him as many reps and live action as possible,” Dawkins said. “And I know there’s a risk involved obviously, and you just have him get caught up and hit in the ribs. But you want to give these young men as many live reps as possible. It’s different in practice, and practice ain’t have the red jerseys and you can’t touch him. But in a game, they know that there’s a potential for them to be hit, so the decision making process has to speed up.

“So giving him those opportunities, as many as possible, will help his development. If you ask anybody, talk to anybody around the National Football League, mental reps are great, but the only way a guy really learns is by doing it on the football field.”

Missanelli touched on the return of former Phillie Chase Utley and asked Dawkins about when he returned to the city as a member of the Denver Broncos back in 2009. For Dawkins, it was brutal.

“For me, I’m an emotional guy and I spent my career to that point growing up in Philadelphia,” Dawkins said. “So to now come back to it, and after being in that visitor’s locker room and have to come out of the visitor’s tunnel, it was very emotional. That’s why I didn’t come out for warmups because I was an emotional mess at that time. So the coaches said, ‘Just go ahead and stay in, don’t come out for warmups.’

“But once the game kicked off, it was go time. But that was a tough game for me, it was brutally tough for me to come back and play against my teammates and some of the fans that I played for for some many years.”

Similar to Utley, Dawkins said fans were on his side during his return. But unlike Utley, who had two home runs and five RBIs in his first game back in Philadelphia and had two curtain calls, Dawkins would have expected the fans to react differently if he had success.

“If I had had success or scored a touchdown, I don’t expect that they would have cheered loudly,” Dawkins said.

On his future, Dawkins wants to achieve something bigger, but he’s not quite sure what that ultimate goal is at this point, such as being a general manager.

“I don’t know if [being a general manager] is all,” Dawkins said. “I just think … that I wanted something bigger than what it was at that moment, and I want something bigger than it is right now. So whatever that bigger is, I don’t 100% know right now. But again, I just want to make sure I’m doing everything I can to help this football team, the front office, the players, and any aspect that I can. Whatever gifts that I have, to help this organization be a better one going forward and one that others team envy, I want to do whatever I can.”