Philadelphia prepares to welcome back Dawkins

FRANK SCHWAB Updated: December 22, 2009 at 12:00 am • Published: December 22, 2009

ENGLEWOOD – Brian Dawkins didn’t want to talk about Philadelphia yet. Back in March, he was unable to talk about leaving the Eagles without breaking down.

Dawkins signed with the Denver Broncos after 13 seasons in Philadelphia, and it was difficult to tell if Dawkins or Eagles fans were affected more. Right after he signed, Dawkins had to hang up during a phone interview with Comcast SportsNet in Philadelphia because he started crying.

Dawkins was Eagles fans’ John Elway, an icon who transcended the franchise. They welcome Dawkins back on Sunday when the Broncos travel to Philadelphia.

“That sustained success is only part of what made him a legend here,” said JasonB, the lead blogger on “Bleeding Green Nation,” in an e-mail. “He was always seen as the player who understood the fans more than another other. Not just on the Eagles either, he seemed to ‘get it’ more than any local sports star.

“He isn't thought of as one of the favorite Eagles of the current era ... he's one of the most beloved Eagles of all time.”

Part of why Dawkins connected to Eagles fans was his intensity, which Broncos fans have quickly taken to as well. Philadelphia fans are famous for their passion, so it makes sense they loved Dawkins.

“I think Dawkins kind of personified that passion and made Eagles fans feel like he was truly giving it his all on the field for them,” Enrico Campitelli, the founder of “The700Level.com,” a blog dedicated to Philadelphia sports, said in an e-mail. “I expect he'll be greeted with nothing but the utmost respect and gratitude for everything he gave to this city.”

Dawkins will discuss going back to Philadelphia during his weekly press conference today. He said he didn’t want to talk about it after Sunday’s game and declined a request Monday. This week should be emotional for everyone involved.

“Brian Dawkins may be wearing a Broncos jersey on the outside, but we all know the blood pumping through ‘Weapon X's’ heart is Eagles green,” Campitelli said.

Contact the writer at 476-4891

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