Eagles safety Brian Dawkins drove down from his home near Orlando for the Home Depot Neighborhood MVP All-Star playground build and press conference today in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Tampa. The Cowboys' Jason Witten was the winner; Dawkins was one of seven finalists.
He also will be in Tampa for the announcement of the Walter Payton Man of the Year on Friday. Dawkins is one of three finalists.
But he won't be staying in town. He said it hurts too much to stick around the Super Bowl city, thinking about how he should be getting ready to play in the game.
In fact, when Home Depot chief marketing officer Frank Bifulco explained that award finalist Kurt Warner couldn't attend Wednesday because he's apparently "preparing for a pretty important event this Sunday," Dawk didn't crack a smile.
Dawkins reiterated that he expects to sit down with management, presumably before free agency starts Feb. 27, and "I think we'll be able to get something done" about a new contract for the 35-year-old free safety, who made the Pro Bowl this season, for the seventh time.
He said he feels good about the Eagles contending for next year's Super Bowl.
"I think (the team is) in a good place, with an 'if' there -- if everybody learns from this year and the mistakes that were made," he said. "if everybody does that, players and coaches, this will be a team to be reckoned with next year, to push for an opportunity to win the Super Bowl. I really do believe that.
"But for coaches and players, you can't go into this offseason saying, 'We're fine, everything will be OK.' "
Asked what mistakes the team needs to learn from, Dawkins said: "For instance, in that last game (the NFC title game loss to the Cards), we were thinking too much ... You can't go into a hostile enviornment with that kind of (orientation), thinking. You're always going to be a step behind, and we were that, especially that first half."
Dawkins said that if it were up to him, he would bring himself and veteran pending free agent offensive tackles Jon Runyan and Tra Thomas back.
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