When the Eagles hired Brian Dawkins as a football operations executive less than two years ago, many Eagles fans envisioned a scenario where Dawkins, one of the most popular players to play for the franchise, might someday become the team’s general manager.
Well, it doesn’t look like that’s ever going to happen.
The five-time All-Pro safety, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 4, told the Inquirer and Daily News on Tuesday that he is leaving the organization.
Dawkins said he plans to start a philanthropic venture that will allow him to affect people’s lives.
“I just started getting a calling to step out in a bold way to bless people on a grand scale,” Dawkins said. “Providing divine hope to people for those individuals who are willing to stop settling for life and live life on purpose. That’s kind of the premise of the business that the Lord has put in my heart.”
Dawkins said that when the calling hit, “that closed the door with the Eagles. I’ll still be able to be a consultant with them when they want me to be. But my time and mission now is a grand one.”
Dawkins spent 16 seasons in the NFL, the first 13 of them with the Eagles. He was a nine-time Pro Bowler and was named to the NFL’s all-decade team of the 2000s. He left the Eagles after the 2008 season and signed with Denver, where he played his final three seasons.
“Brian Dawkins will always be a Philadelphia Eagle,” the Eagles said in a statement. “We greatly appreciate all of Brian’s contributions to our football operations department over the last two seasons, and we are excited that he will continue to help us going forward.
“As an NFL Hall of Famer and a Philadelphia Eagles legend, Brian was able to provide valuable perspective and draw on his extensive experience in the NFL while working in our front office. Our doors will always be open to him and we will support him in anything he does — both professionally and personally — as he continues his post-playing career.”
Dawkins signed a one-day contract with the Eagles in April 2012 so he could retire as an Eagle, and his No. 20 was retired by the team later that year. Four years later, in July 2016, the Eagles brought him into the front office. Two weeks after that, he was given the title of football operations executive.
“With last year being his first year, he’s just dived in and tried to make his own role with all of the things that he does, whether it be helping out in player development or helping out in player personnel,’’ Joe Douglas, the team’s vice president of player personnel, said in early February. “The one thing about Brian [is] he just wants to see the Eagles win. That’s his only goal.’’
The Eagles made it to the NFC championship game five times but never won a Super Bowl when Dawkins played for them. Dawkins finally earned a Super Bowl ring in February when the Eagles beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
Several Eagles defensive players, including linebacker Nigel Bradham and safety Malcolm Jenkins, credited Dawkins with helping them elevate their game last season.
“Brian hasn’t tried to overstep his boundaries, but he pulls guys aside and constantly gives us tips on how we can improve our game,’’ Jenkins said before the win over the Patriots. “I know it’s helped me this year. And I know it’s helped guys like Nigel, [cornerback] Ronald [Darby] and a few other guys.’’
“Dawk’s got a lot of street cred,’’ Douglas said then. “When he speaks, especially defensive backs or any defensive players [are going to listen]. He’s certainly been an asset as far as the advice and the mentorship he has rendered to these guys.’’