Regrets, Joe Banner has a few.
That might have been the most surprising thing about the Eagles' team president's appearance Wednesday evening with WIP Radio host Howard Eskin.
Heretofore, the assumption was that the Birds took their best shot at keeping Brian Dawkins and fell well short, that they declined to meet what Banner termed an "extremely, extremely aggressive" offer from the Denver Broncos. Banner sketched out a different scenario -- one in which the Eagles weren't immediately aware of how offended their seven-time Pro Bowl safety was coming out of their initial meeting over a new contract, and in which Dawkins and agent Jim Steiner did not come back to the Birds after getting a five-year, $17 million offer in Denver that will pay Dawkins $7.2 million even if he only plays one season.
"(Steiner) indicated Brian was going to take a trip to Denver. That was the last conversation we had," Banner said. "We found out Brian was doing a deal in Denver at the same time everybody else did. We didn't know what the deal was."
Banner said Dawkins and Steiner "were under the impression that we weren't going to change what we'd offered anyway, which may or may not be true."
Asked by Eskin if it was unusual for an agent not to call back in that situation, Banner said: "Trying to be fair ... they did have reason to believe that they had our best offer. It's not totally unreasonable that they didn't call back, though we've been in plenty of situations where somebody thought they had our best offer and in spite of that, just to be absolutely certain that we weren't bluffing or that we hadn't had second thoughts, frequently you still get that kind of one-to-one call.even though you've described something you've presented as your best offer."
Banner indicated that the two-year-total of the Broncos' offer -- a little more than $9 million -- wasn't dramatically different from what the Eagles offered, though the one-year total was.
"The longer the horizon got the smaller the difference there was in the proposals," Banner said.
Banner said he believes the Eagles will still be effective defensively in 2009, but he said they will not be able to really "replace" Dawkins. "None of the possible options are Brian Dawkins. They're never going to be Brian Dawkins. We'll all be very lucky if we ever see another Brian Dawkins," Banner said. "Whether it's his character, his charity, his family, his play on the field, his leadership -- we don't have any illusions, and nobody should, that somebody's going to step in and be the next Brian Dawkins. I don't know if we'll have another Brian Dawkins going forward at any position. As you look around, those are few-and-far-between types of guys. But we do believe we'll have another quality player prepared to step in."
More to come in Thursday's Daily News.