Your Eagletarian is literally and figuratively snowed under today.
For the literal part, I have a 15-year-old son who comes in quite handy. I'm willing to rent him and his shovel out at reasonable rates for anybody within walking distance here in Haddon Township, N.J. (Hey, this bankruptcy thing is worrisome, I have to pay for his college tuition somehow.)
But my son can't answer e-mails about Brian Dawkins, which is where the figurative snowed-under part comes in. (Well, he could, but he's really steamed, so the answers might get me in trouble. Plus I need him outside on the shovel.)
Today's column expressing my frustration over Dawkins' departure resonated with many dozens of e-mailers. I'm responding to as many as I can, but I doubt I'll get to everybody. So I want to say that I'm reading them all, even if I can't answer you individually. And in this space, I'm passing along some representative samples, including some that disagree with me. I'd say right now the ratio is about 5-to-1, in favor of people who take my view, that a team with $40 million in cap room could and should have avoided this, even if Denver's offer was ridiculous, even if it's true that Dawk could have just turned down the extra money and stayed, if he wanted. (On that last matter, one point -- I would say the distinction is that Dawk is a lone man, not a large organization. A difference of a few million bucks to him is more than a difference of a few million to the Eagles. When Dawk assesses whether he can pass up millions of dollars, he has to think about how that will affect his children and their children. I think Jeffrey Lurie's offspring are probably going to be OK, regardless.)
**Late-breaking bulletin** Son just put down the shovel and went off to play with the dog. So much for college.
But on to the responses (And by the way, I don't know anything yet about that profootballtalk.com report saying Baltimore free agent safety Jim Leonhard might visit the Eagles. Wouldn't excite me, though, unless he's the replacement for Sean Considine. Don't think he's Dawk).
First, from Wayne Faust: "I'm not a season ticketholder, but I have been loyal fan. In a time when owners, players & agents are sucking the fun out of sports, #20 was perhaps the only reason that I continued to watch. Brian embodied what it means to be a Philadelphian. He understood it, he embraced it, and he became one of us.
Brian was never phony, that’s all we ask. Why can’t the rest seem to grasp how simple it really is to be loved by Philadelphians? We’ve seen the snake-oil too many times."
From Harry Sirorine, in Orlando: "Just finished reading your article on Philly.com about Brian Dawkins. The only thing I can say is THANK YOU! I was actually at the movies with my wife on Saturday afternoon when the “official” news broke. By the way, I’m originally from Philly, but currently live in Orlando, FL. I heard the news on the radio soon after leaving the theater to drive back home. Now understand that I own TWO of those # 20 jerseys you referred to in your article. A black and white 3rd jersey and yes an awful blue and gold throwback version worn by the team for the Detroit game in 2007, which I attended with my sister. I purchased the throwback for $20 at Modells.
Anyway, back to the reason I’m sending this email. I am a 44-year-old lifelong Eagles fan. I have seen players come and go over the years, but I can honestly say this one hurt more than any other, including Reggie White. My stomach turned a little when I heard the news. I immediately called my sister, who is also a devout Eagles fan, and she took the “that’s the way they do business” attitude. My response to this was, no not this time. This is different. This is BRIAN DAWKINS! The team philosophy should be thrown out on this one. I’m sure they could have found a way to keep Dawkins for another year or two; probably for more than they originally offered, but much less than he got from Denver. Brian Dawkins should have played his entire career with the Birds. It is a very tough day for Eagles fans."
From Jim Dugan: "Dawkins is on the downside and you can't hide it any longer.Yes, he made some eye-opening plays late in the season, but he was terribly beat on more than a few occasions. Being a wild man on the sidelines doesn't get it done on the field .He could have taken an offer of one year at a time and stayed.Even Dawkins knows his best days are gone and if he going to go out on a sour note, I suppose he doesn't want to do it in Philly. Denver will never see the real Dawkins. His only real plays were in the other teams' backfield. In his own backfield he was beat too many times. I wish him luck."
From Thomas Evans of Winter Park, Fla: "On Friday my 3-year-old received his first Eagles jersey from his uncle in Philadelphia – a green, number 20 Dawkins jersey. He wore it all day Friday and has slept in it twice already. It’s huge on him so it will be worn for the next several years. We’ll miss seeing Brian Dawkins in that jersey."
And finally, from Matt McCulley: " 'Dawk don’t Walk' was the perfect analogy of how people saw/appreciated BDAWK.
My friend once got me on-field passes for Eagles v. Browns in Cleveland. I watched Dawk warm up and I have to say, being only 10 yards away, I was scared to death. The emotion, drive, and confidence he had during PREGAME muted even the dreaded Dawg Pound.
He will be missed, but my guess is we will see #20 jerseys for the next 20 years at The Linc."