The lengthy pauses had nothing to do with the cell phone service. Brian Dawkins was in tears Sunday, when he responded to a request from the Daily News to talk to the fans of Philadelphia.
"I've just got to thank them. For so many years, we obviously connected on a very deep basis," Dawkins said the day after he left his only NFL home for 13 seasons to sign with the Denver Broncos. "For so many years, they've allowed me to come into their living rooms, to laugh with them, to party with them, to celebrate with them, to cry with 'em through tough losses, to bleed with them. I just really appreciate the way they accepted me, a little safety from Clemson."
Asked about the fact that the Broncos are scheduled to visit the Eagles this season, at a yet-to-be-determined date, Dawkins was overcome with emotion. "Whew," he said. "It's tough. This is not just business for me. I never thought that this would happen this way. I thought the only time I would shed tears in an interview would be because of my retirement from the Eagles, not like this."
Dawkins would not address what the Birds offered to keep him here. Dawkins, 35, reportedly will make more than $9 million guaranteed in the first two years of the reported five-year, $17 million deal he signed in Denver.
"I want to do this the right way," he said.
The day after, it would not be stretching to say Dawk sounded like he had regrets -- buyer's remorse, at the very least.
"In a couple of weeks or a month, I'll be excited about this team," Dawkins said. "I've got to get used to saying that -- I'm a Bronco." Then he paused. "I'll tell you one thing -- I'll always be an Eagle."
Then he paused again, and excused himself.